As the season of yatras approaches, states are advised to increase their Covid vigil

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Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary, has urged states to increase security and get ready for large gatherings or yatras in the upcoming months to make sure that participants travelling between states and internationally do not have the Covid-19 virus.

In addition, Bhushan convened a video conference with 14 states that are still reporting an increase in cases and urged them to step up surveillance and report any patients with unusual or unusual clinical profiles.

States have been requested to make it known that everyone wishing to participate in the upcoming yatras should be symptom-free and, ideally, completely immunised. If necessary, states must set up specific immunisation drives a fortnight before any such event.

The states have also been urged to organise health facilities and health desks along the way, as well as to publicise and plan for proper testing. Volunteer organisations have also been asked to promote and ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is observed.

According to the letter, additional safety measures, such as continued medication and careful symptom monitoring, should be taken by the elderly and people with comorbidities.

It specifies that all prayer gatherings, seating arrangements, and housing arrangements must be made outside or in places with good ventilation.

Dr. V K Paul, a member of the NITI Aayog (health) who attended the meeting with the 14 states, suggested that the states increase proactive surveillance of all Covid-19 patients as well as those who had severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), influenza-like illnesses (ILI), and genomic sequencing. To assist in early detection of changes in clinical profile, states were asked to report data-backed clinical manifestations to the Health Ministry.

Additionally, they have been told to “rapidly increase” vaccine coverage, particularly for people over 60 and for youngsters between the ages of 12 and 17.

Paul and Bhushan also noted a decline in the proportion of more precise RT-PCR tests, along with low Covid-19 testing levels across states.

States have been encouraged to judiciously examine people who visit fever clinics, SARI and ILI cases, as well as new clusters.

In addition, Bhushan encouraged the states to swiftly handle healthcare worker claims under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package to make sure that public healthcare providers—including community health workers—who have passed away from coronavirus get compensated.