- The teams were sent to 50 districts in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab
- They've pointed out flaws in the states' methods to contain the pandemic
- The Health Ministry has written to the concerned states over the feedback
Three Central teams deputed to Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh earlier this week after a review of the Covid situation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have pointed out multiple flaws in the handling of the situation by the three state governments. Overall, the teams had visited 50 districts - 30 in Maharashtra, 11 in Chhattisgarh and nine in Punjab. Their reviews mentioned a multitude of issues ranging from lack of optimal use of health care facilities, lack of RT-PCR testing facilities, shortage of healthcare workers and in one place, even attacks on healthcare workers.
In all three states, there was a marked lack of compliance to Covid-appropriate behaviour, the Central team noted.
In Maharashtra -- which alone accounts for 48.57 per cent of the total active caseload of the country -- containment operations were found to be sub-optimal in several districts. The testing capacity in several districts in the state is overwhelmed, resulting in delay in reporting of test results.
Surveillance and contact tracing were found to be minimum in Buldhana, Satara, Aurgangabad and Nanded, mostly due to limited manpower.
Most Covid cases in Bhandara were reported from outside of containment zones, which called for a reorganisation of the zones. Monitoring of patients in home isolation was inadequate. Also, community resistance to Covid tests were reported from the district.
A large number of deaths were occurring in Satara district within 72 hours of hospital admission as the patients were reporting late to the treatment centers. Acute shortage of healthcare workforce was reported from Aurangabad, Nandurabar, Yawatmal, Satara, Palghar, Jalgoan and Jalna districts.
In Punjab, the teams, in their review of the nine districts that they were sent to, reported low rates of testing, lack of Covid care centres and dedicated hospital and shortage of healthcare workforce.
The teams also pointed at the slow pace of COVID-19 vaccination in Patiala and Ludhiana. This comes just a day after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the state had a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines and urged the Centre to ramp up the supply.
In Chhattisgarh, the teams reported lack of perimeter control in containment zones in several districts. In parts of the state, there was a shortage of RT-PCR testing facilities, drugs like Remdesivir and Heparin, oxygen and infrastructure including ambulance services.
The teams also reported instances of attack on healthcare workers and resistance to containment activities in a few districts. "Resistance (even attacks on healthcare workers) to containment activities and testing was reported by the team from Dhaneli Village, Raipur. This needs to be addressed on an urgent basis," said the report on Chhattisgarh, which is among the five states which account for 70.82 per cent of India's active COVID-19 cases.
The Health Ministry has written to the concerned states about the feedback from the central teams. The teams have been submitting daily reports on five aspects, including testing, contact tracing, hospital infrastructure, enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour and vaccination.
The centre has been deputing teams from time to time to visit various states and Union Territories as an ongoing effort to strengthen efforts for COVID-19 management.
The country recorded 1,52,879 cases in the last 24 hours, setting another grim one-day record as the country's Covid tally reached over 1.33 crore cases. With 839 deaths in the last 24 hours, the total death count rose to 1.69 lakh.