Imphal: Manipur chief minister N. Biren Singh has called an emergency meeting on Wednesday morning to deliberate on the present situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic
The state health department was instructed to issue notice for attendance ministers, State Consultative Committee for COVID-19, Joint Committee of CSOs on Awareness, State COVID Task Force, officials of health department, deputy commissioners of Imphal East and Imphal West and representatives of People’s Task Force on COVID-19.
The chief minister’s call came up after a meeting chaired by the chief secretary was held with administrative secretaries and COVID Task Force members to review the implementation of measures to check the spread of COVID-19 in late Tuesday afternoon.
Principal secretary (health), in the meeting, presented that the focus on expanding the capacity of COVID care centres continues. The state has managed to increase its capacity substantially, however, the continuing rise in active cases necessitates the state government to continue to pursue this objective. Health department has been working to increase the number of COVID Beds at JNIMS and RIMS to treat symptomatic and serious patients. It has been working to improve patient care and efficiency of the two Hospitals. Focus on COVID testing has not wavered and all suspected cases are being tested.
To indirectly increase the capacity of COVID care centres and COVID hospitals, government has been allowing Home Isolation since August 15. Discharging of asymptomatic patients has also been streamlined. Advisories have been given to all hospitals to attend to COVID positive patients.
The awareness campaign/Jan Andolan launched on October 8 to publicize and inculcate COVID Appropriate Behaviour was being actively pursued. Further steps to widen the reach would be taken up with the cooperation of other government departments as per the action plan prepared by state government.
In view of the abnormal increase in positive cases in some localized area, a new concept of Focus Containment Zone is being tried out in some parts of Thangmeiband. This system may be replicated in other areas, if desired results are achieved, the principal secretary presented.
After a detailed explanation of the strategy being pursued by the state to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and deliberation on other issues, certain decisions were taken in the meeting.
COVID-19 Policy/Strategy: The strategy devised and pursued by the state government currently consist of expanding COVID care centre capacity, monitoring COVID beds at JNIMS and RIMS, continued focus on COVID Testing, Home Isolation, Discharge Policy, all hospitals have to attend to COVID positive patients, awareness campaign — Jan Andolan launched on October 8 and focused containment zone.
COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB): The activities to publicise CAB needs to be taken up more vigorously. Departments of education, social welfare, rural development and health and family welfare should actively take the help of its field staff and personnel to spread the message of CAB and encourage the public the follow. Departments which have IEC funds under CSS/CPS should use some of its funds to create publicity material of CAB and also disseminating it to the public.
Officers-in-charge of police stations should interact with the people of its area and spread the message of CAB.
The chief minister may be requested to write to all elected representatives at the village/municipal ward level including village chiefs/secretaries, field functionaries of the government who interact with the people at village level to publicize CAB.
COVID Care Beds in District Hospitals : Health department should examine and wherever possible establish sections/units in district hospitals which have reasonable facility to treat COVID positive patients. It was also felt that about 100 more doctors, nurses and MTS each may be engaged on contract/daily honorarium basis to meet the raising requirements of healthcare workers.
Hotel Imphal as COVID Hospital : As discussed during COVID Consultative Committee meeting, the utilization of Hotel Imphal as COVID Treatment Hospital should be finalized.
Imposition of Lockdown : In view of the substantial increase in number of daily positive cases and high positivity rate, the imposition of lockdown to break the chain of transmission may be needed. However, MHA’s order dated September 30 does not empower state government to impose lockdown without consulting them. Therefore, home department shall, with approval of competent authority write to Union home secretary to allow the state government to impose lockdown for sometime.