The Group of Ministers formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi reviews current status, preparedness and actions for management of COVID-19 in the country

In India, as of now, the death rate is around 3.2 per cent while recovery rate is more than 25 per cent—is what the GoM, headed by Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan was told by officials while making a detailed presentation on the positive effect of lockdown along with the cluster management and containment strategy in the country on Tuesday.

The GoM which also comprised Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, Hardeep S. Puri, Minister of Civil Aviation, Nityananda Rai, Minister of State for Home and Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff and Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla—was informed that genome sequencing of strains of the novel coronavirus isolated from patients in different parts of the country has also been initiated.

Presentations made during the 14th meeting of the GoM also took into account various recommendations of the central government for the containment zone management pertaining to indicators, root causes and others.

Earlier, the GoM had in depth deliberation on containment strategy and management aspects of COVID-19, as well as the measures being taken by the Centre and various States.

During the meeting, the GoM was informed that all districts in the country have been divided into three categories i.e. Red Zone (130 Districts), Orange Zone (284 Districts) and Green Zone(319) Districts.

The green category represents the districts which have not reported any case since the last 21 days. States have been asked to follow and further strengthen their contingency plans to combat COVID-19 on the basis of classification of the districts.

Several other measures about strengthening capacity of states including devoting adequate resources for creating Dedicated COVID-19 Hospitals, equipping the medical institutions with adequate number of PPEs, ventilators and other essential equipment etc., were also discussed in detail.

The GoM was also apprised of adequacy and availability of PPEs, masks, ventilators, drugs and other essential equipment against the requirement.

The GoM was informed that domestic manufacturers have reached the production capacity of nearly 2.5 lakh PPEs per day and about 2 lakhs N95 masks per day which is sufficient to meet the requirement of the country in near future.

In addition, manufacturing of ventilators by domestic manufacturers has also been started and orders have been placed. Steps have been taken to maintain the quality norms for PPEs, masks and ventilators.

Adequate quantity of oxygen cylinders is also being procured. The GoM highlighted the need for ensuring that stringent measures of quality control were ensured for PPEs, mask, ventilators etc. Random batch sampling for ensuring compliance and adherence to the quality standards laid down were also stressed upon by the GoM.

Various aspects pertaining to the performance, impact and benefits of Arogya-Setu application were discussed during the meeting. It was informed close to nine crore users had downloaded the app as on May 4. People have informed about their health status on the application which has helped in tracing those suffering with any symptoms for COVID-19 containment.

The GoM was also informed that mechanisms have also been devised to reach out to the people who have landline or featured phones through Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) in local languages for better results. The GoM expressed satisfaction over the work done by the Ministries and the Empowered Groups.

IVD Bureau