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Health ministry organises training for critical care management at 1,000 places

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Union Health Ministry on Saturday carried out a training on critical care management at 1,000 locations in hospitals through video conference, and also said it will conduct a nationwide mock drill on Sunday for emergency response to handle COVID-19 cases.

Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Health Lav Agarwal told reporters that the government is likely to issue detailed order on the price cap and other aspects of testing of COVID-19 by private labs and emphasised that people should not go for coronavirus tests "out of fashion" or for "confidence-building".

"It is very important to understand that testing should be done as per the defined protocols," he said, adding that 111 labsacross the country have been made functional to test for coronavirus infection.

Urging the people toobserve 'janata curfew' on Sunday as pitched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Agarwal asserted that social distancing is an important intervention to break the chain of transmission and urged the people, barring those engaged in essential activities, not to get out of their homes.

"The time is about showing collective resilience to fight together. It's not about force, it is about coming together that are we ready as community, we are looking for unity in isolation," he said.

He also clarified that in the current scenario, no question of lockdown arises and the aim is to focus on prevention approach and measures to contain the spread of the virus.

He also urged the people to thank all those in essential services by clapping hands and ringing bells in doorways, balconies and windows at 5 pm on Sunday to show gratitude as called upon by the prime minister.

Agarwal told reporters that guidelines forCOVID-19 testing in Indiahave been revised according to whichasymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case should be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in his/her contact.

All hospitalised patients with severe acute respiratory illness having symptoms of fever and cough and/or shortness of breath will henceforth be also tested for coronavirus infection, accordingto the revised strategy of COVID19 testing in India issued by the Indian Council of Medical Resarch(ICMR) on Saturday.

He also asked the people to steer away from fake and misinformation

Noting that there is a lot of misinformation about masks and sanitizers, Agarwal said not everybody is required to wear them or depend on sanitizers and stressed that social distancing is more important.

"If one is suffering from respiratory issues like cough and cold, then they should wear masks so as not to spread the infection to anyone else. And also wearing N-95 masks is not required, even double ply or triple ply regular ones will do," he said as he urged the people to focus on hand, respiratory and environmental hygiene.

He said over 262 Indians, mostly students, will be evacuated from Rome on Saturday. The government of India has so far brought in around 1,700 Indians from abroad and kept them in quarantine centres across the country.

Asked whether cases of community transmission have been found out, he said people will be told when it happens.

Official agencies across the country are involved in contact tracing of over 7,000 persons who are suspected to have come in touch with the infected patients, he added.

The government has capped maximum retail price of hand sanitizer at Rs 100 per 200ml bottle till June 30 this year amid sharp rise in the prices of this product following the coronavirus pandemic.

Similarly, price of a 2 ply (surgical) mask has been capped at Rs 8 and that of 3 ply (surgical) mask at Rs 10 till June 30.

The price cap has been imposed in view of rising prices of raw materials used in making of masks and hand santizer, officials said, adding thatthe government is working to ramp up production of masks and sanitisers and states have been asked to allow deodorant manufacturers to produce sanitisers.

There is no shortage of these items and people should not indulge in panic-buying, one official said.

Earlier this month, the government had declared sanitizers and masks essential commodities to prevent hoarding and price manipulation of such goods.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, March 21 2020. 21:12 IST