As India’s total number of recovered patients is now 2,04,710, taking the recovery rate to 53.79%, it is clear that testing and tracing in the areas that are at high-risk contributes to reduced fatality.
There are two developments that warrant our attention in this regard. The Centre has lauded the state of Karnataka for its comprehensive contact tracing efforts. Secondly, the state of Delhi, which is among the worst-affected, is seeing an aggressive testing after the Union government stepped in to assume bigger role in addressing the issue.
The technology-based approach of Karnataka helped comprehensive contact tracing of COVID-19 positive cases, and physical/phone-based household survey covered more than 1.5 crore households. This approach was hailed by the Centre as a model to be adopted by other states. Elements of this approach included the following:
- More than 10,000 well trained field staff carry out specific responsibilities for contact tracing.
- The Contact Tracing Mobile Appand Web Application have reduced the work burden for the staff and prevented the instances of genuine forgetfulness of the positive persons and attempts to hide facts due to various reasons.
- Contacts residing in slum areas were brought to institutional quarantine
- The mandatory registration for all returnees / travelers coming to Karnataka on “Seva Sindhu” portal has enabled the State to follow them for the next few days when they are in home / institutional quarantine.
- Initiatives like ‘Quarantine Watch App’ and forming of Mobile Squad helped to implement strict quarantine of the suspected persons for infection.
- A phone/physical household survey of high-risk population such as the aged, pregnant women, people with co morbidities, Influenza like Illness and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness cases conducted covering 153 lakh households.
Delhi After Amit Shah’s Intervention
After Home Minister Amit Shah gave directions in managing the worsening situation in Delhi, a total of 27,263 testing samples have been collected in Delhi from 15 to 17 June 2020 against the daily collection which varied between 4,000-4,500 earlier.
Barely two days after a series of meetings chaired by HM Amit Shah, house-to-house health survey in 242 containment zones of Delhi was completed, covering the survey of 2.3 lakh people.
Rapid Antigen testing methodology has started in Delhi with 193 centres. The unchecked price for Corona treatment in the private sector has been capped quickly.
These examples tell that there needs to be will to act while dealing with the pandemic and a systematic approach can give a breather to the citizens.