Covid-19 has now become a part of our life and we sure have learnt to live with it, but that does not mean that it is not dangerous anymore. With 62,714 cases reported on March 27, it looks like the peak of the second wave is about to start. Amid the exponential surge in the Covid-19 cases across the country, the Centre has chalked out a five-step plan to combat the spread of the CoronaVirus. Some states and Union territories which were called- Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Jammu, and Kashmir among others.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting on Saturday with the top officials of 12 states and Union territories, according to a release issued by the Union ministry of health and family welfare. The meeting focused on how the states could curb the cases while doing what is best for the economy of our country. They were informed that the nation has seen the steepest rise in weekly cases since May 2020. 46 districts comprise 71 percent cases and 69 percent of the fatalities this month. Out of those 36 are in Maharashtra. The primary aim of the strategy is to identify and contain the pathogen.
Without a doubt, the first step in the five-step plan is to proliferate testing. It helps in efficient isolation that reduces the risk of transmission to other close contacts. This step includes increasing the amount of RT-PCR and using the Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) in the cases of clusters and densely populated areas. Aiming to use the micro-containment strategy, the Centre has asked the states to ensure that prompt actions are taken when an individual has tested positive. The Centre reiterated that testing is not the ultimate solution and keeping this in their mind, formed the second step, Progressive isolation, and contact tracing methods. The states were told to trace 30 last contacts of the infected person and test each of them within 72 hours to avoid more emanation. Rapid testing and effective isolation are the key to keep the virus under control. All of this is supposed to be an important and rapid process as this is where the virus starts to take over the immune system.
Asking the officials to help boost public and private hospital infrastructure, the Centre stated their third point. The target is to reduce mortality rate and ‘re-energise’ the health workers from fatigue and laxity. Standard National Treatment Protocols for efficient clinical management of ICUs is a must for severe cases. It was also pointed out that Karnataka and Kerala, despite being bigger than Punjab and Chhattisgarh, reported lesser fatalities. The fourth step is to ensure Covid appropriate behaviour. Authorities were asked to strictly penalise those who broke the rules and regulations so that the others will not try to disrupt the safety protocols. They asked influencers, religious heads, and local leaders to raise awareness and encourage everyone to follow the guidelines. The fifth step is easier said than done, the vaccination drive. We must ensure that people go ahead for vaccinations as this is the best solution we have right now, but it comes with many obstacles such as the large population, social fears and rumours, pre-existing medical conditions of citizens. This is a phased process and will obviously take time and resources.
While this plan might be effective, the Centre must make sure that all the states adhere to the norms specified. The states should also focus on cooperating with the Centre to eradicate this invisible nuisance and continue the road of growth. Lockdowns are a plausible solution but are not the answer. Some states like Maharashtra, Kerala etc may need another lockdown as they are on the top of the corona contribution list. We as common people also need to do our part. We must wear masks, sanitise our hands from time to time and go out only if it is necessary. These things might look trivial but as of now, is our only ray of hope. Herd immunity is not even close right now. For the assurance of our loved ones and citizens, we need to follow the safety procedures. As responsible citizens, we should also tick people off if they refuse to adhere to these guidelines. After all, if we will not look out for each other, who will? In these times, we should stick with each other so that normalcy prevails and all of us can go back to our social life.