Amid a record surge in coronavirus infections in the country, P K Mishra, the principal secretary to the prime minister, on Saturday called for building on the knowledge and analysis of the pandemic developed over the last few months to work out a detailed action plan for the coming days.
Reviewing the Covid-19 response in the country, the principal secretary directed all concerned to develop an evidence-based preparedness on all aspects of the disease with the active participation of districts and states for effectiveness, the Union Health Ministry said in a statement.
The need to continuously upgrade and augment human resources, get the right mix of testing for effective case management, contact tracing and isolation, uninterrupted oxygen supply and medical equipment, were discussed at length, it said.
The stage of vaccine development and plans for its distribution was discussed at the meeting, which was also attended by Cabinet Secretary, Member, NITI Aayog Dr Vinod Paul, Principal Scientific Adviser K Vijay Raghavan, all empowered action group convenors concerned as well as secretaries of departments concerned.
The review meeting focused on evidence-based learning on the management of cases across districts and states, and emphasised on the need to unlock, work and still follow the non-pharmacological preventive measures.
A presentation by the health secretary on the Covid-19 status in India, ongoing strategic interventions and future challenges highlighted the status of states in terms of case trajectory, testing, fatality and sample positivity mentioning the districts of concern.
"The health secretary also discussed the eVIN Platform focusing on vaccine supply chain, beneficiary enrolment system and the delivery system once a vaccine is available," the statement said.
"Based on the many projections scenarios, the principal secretary directed all concerned to build on the knowledge and analysis that has been developed over the last few months to work out a detailed action plan for the coming months," it said.
Integration of AYUSH for prophylaxis and mitigation of syndrome was also discussed, as well as the need for District Health Action Plans for long-term management of various aspects of coronavirus infection.
Mishra emphasised on the need for caution and prevention by maintaining a two-meter distance, use of mask and washing hands. Care for the elderly, the need to strictly follow the norms of physical distancing and preventive measures was re-emphasized at the meeting.
"The concerted behaviour change campaign will again be taken up to re-emphasize that unlocking does not mean lowering our guard against infection. The need to unlock, work and still follow the non-pharmacological preventive measures was strongly recommended," the ministry said in its statement.
The NITI Aayog member made a detailed presentation on projections of cases based on various models. He also explained the ongoing efforts by the National Expert Group on vaccine administration for Covid-19, it said.
The meeting was briefed about the overall landscape on vaccine research -- both in India and globally. The need for psychosocial care facilities, effective behaviour change communication system, strong district public health teams for surveillance, a data team, effective supply chain, livelihoods and social protection was also discussed.