Taking serious note on warning and alert issued by the Union government and Health experts that the ongoing festive season and winter months would lead to another wave of corona virus especially during December and January, Haryana Director General of Health Services Dr Suraj Bhan Kamboj on Saturday asked all district chief medical officers to be alert and take all the precautions regarding Covid- 19 protocol in their jurisdictional limit.
Talking to The Pioneer over the phone, Kamboj said that the new recoveries have been more than new cases over the last two weeks. New cases being reported in the last 14 days are lower than previous highs of around 2500 cases per day in the last month.
Active Covid-19 cases have decreased to around 10,000, while the recovery rate has been at above 91 per cent. As the numbers of new cases are declining so the current situation of availability of beds and ventilators is satisfactory. Many of the beds are vacant but we are prepared if there is a need to scale up the facility, he said.
“Despite decline in Covid-19 cases, the State health department would continue to lay emphasis on 3Ts — tracing, testing and treatment for early detection, treatment of Covid-19 patients in view of upcoming festive and winter seasons in the State,” DG Health added. He said that the State Government has issued guidelines on physical distancing and the use of sanitisers, face masks to curb community spread of the disease and everyone should follow it strictly.
Asked the Union Government as well as Health experts have warned that the winter months, as well as opening up of most activities after lockdown restrictions, would lead to another wave of coronavirus during December and January, he said that the district chief medical officers have been asked on the need to be alert and aware of the situation.
Dr Kamboj further said that Covid-19 cases may increase due to festivities and reopening of various activities including schools, colleges, malls, cinema halls during unlocked -5 and inter-district movement of people. “We would advise caution over optimism. The virus is new. It starts waning and then suddenly shoots up. Everything is open now and we may face something harsher. We have to follow the SMS approach—social distancing, masks and sanitisation—with utmost diligence,” he added.
Two things have to be done to handle the second wave, DG Health said, adding that the first one is to keep the basic infrastructure ready, and second is to ensure the spread is restricted by creating public awareness on preventive steps.
Dr Dhruva Chaudhary, who is the nodal officer for Covid-19 in Haryana, said that from the past three weeks, active cases have started to decline in the State as daily recoveries are surpassing new cases. The State is witnessing a declining trend with 6.38 per cent growth rate, fatality rate at 1.10 per cent while recovery rate at 91.84 per cent.
He said, “We have to stick to the standard protocol for keeping epidemic surge at bay, especially during the winter season, as respiratory viruses thrive better in cold weather and low humidity conditions. If precautions are not taken, the situation can go out of hand with the sudden rise of Covid-19 cases. Besides, people need to be extra cautious during the festival season and practice social distancing.”
Chaudhary further said, “In the absence of any vaccine, a mask is the only inoculation. People should wear masks all the time. For any change in season, the viral infection is common among people. How the virus behaves in winter needs to be seen, but there is already a second wave in other countries and a similar trend can be expected here too.” He further said that the lockdown rules have been eased and various activities have been allowed, as there is no alternative, but proper and cautious behaviour of local residents is the best preventive measure. The general public has been advised to maintain social distancing while shopping and wear masks properly.
Chaudhary said, “With the help of district administration, we have been taking several steps such as making announcements for wearing masks, following social distancing, and washing hands regularly. These are being done through police vehicles and public address systems that are in place at crowded places such as markets.”
He said that intensive samplings of Covid-19 through Rapid Antigen Testing Kits are being done in all districts of the State. More than 70 Mobile Health Teams have already been formed to check health status regarding SARI, ILI etc. Containment orders have been issued by concerned District Magistrate/ Deputy Commissioner. Haryana has 46, 353 bedded quarantine facilities in Dedicated COVID Care Centers and 12,818 Beds are available in Dedicated COVID Hospitals and in Dedicated Covid-19 Health Centers, he added.