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Union Home Secy reviews public health response to COVID-19

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85% health workers, 84% frontline workers, and 75% of those aged 45 and above vaccinated: CS

Srinagar: The Union Home Secretary, Ajay Bhalla, while chairing a high-level meeting to review the public health response to COVID-19 urged all Union territories to ensure vigorous testing, tracking, and treating of COVID cases besides undertaking speedy vaccination of eligible population towards successful containment of the COVID pandemic in India.

J&K Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta along with Additional Chief Secretary, Health & Medical Education Department, besides Chief Secretaries/Administrators of other Union Territories participated in the meeting.

While reviewing the COVID situation in the Union territories, the Home Secretary said that the UTs have witnessed a sharp decline in cases over the past few weeks. “The positivity and fertility rates have come down to 7.6 percent and 1.3 percent respectively,” he added.

Lauding J&K’s “well-drawn” strategy in combating COVID-19, Member, NITI Aayog, Dr. V. K. Paul said that J&K is emerging as a “role model” amongst entities with large territorial areas in conducting targeted testing, stratified vaccination and providing grass root-level medical care, an official press release said.

J&K’s model has assisted the Union territory in bringing down COVID caseload and related deaths per million population to 894 and 62, respectively over the last two weeks.

Giving a brief of the measures being taken in J&K to contain the spread of COVID, the Chief Secretary informed that the government has instituted a rural medical and testing grid through Panchayat-level COVID-care centres to provide timely medical care to patients in rural areas.

“These centres provide various COVID-related medical services and conduct daily COVID tests for early detection of emerging hotspots, besides raising awareness on the COVID  appropriate behavior,” he added.

Currently, Jammu and Kashmir is among the leading regions in the country in vaccination of above 45 years age group having vaccinated 75 percent of its eligible population which is well above the national average of 42 percent, while achieving universal coverage in four districts — Ganderbal, Jammu, Samba and Shopian, and Wayun village in Bandipora district.

Meanwhile, J&K has also vaccinated 85 percent of healthcare workers, 84 percent of frontline workers, and 10 percent of the population in 18- 45 age category.

The Chief Secretary assured the Central government of achieving 100 percent vaccination in 45 age category by 30th June 2021 and 30 percent coverage in 18- 45 age category by 15th July, 2021, through robust vaccination drives which have been ramped up to a capacity of administering 1.6 lakh doses per day.

Dr Mehta also informed that through government’s timely response, the daily number of COVID cases has reduced from an all-time high of over 5400 to 585 over a month. The same period also witnessed a reduction in the case positivity rate from 13 percent to 3.3 percent, which has further reduced to 1.2 percent in last 24 hours.

Regarding augmentation of medical infrastructure and facilities in the Union territory, it was informed that the government has more than doubled the number of COVID-dedicated beds and tripled the medical oxygen supply to cater to COVID-related eventualities.

Considering the gradual lifting of restrictions in line with recovery from COVID’s second wave, the Home Secretary asked the UT government to vigorously promote COVID-appropriate behaviour through strict enforcement of SOPs and proper crowd management at market places, mandis, and religious places.

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