Maharashtra govt asks officials to ramp up testing ahead of 2nd COVID-19 wave
Photo Credit: PTI

Pune: Though the graph of COVID-19 cases has shown signs of decline, the Maharashtra government, anticipating a second wave of the infection, has asked authorities not to drop guard and take all necessary steps to deal with any situation.

A circular-cum-advisory issued by the state Directorate of Health Services last week said the second wave of the pandemic is likely in January-February, and asked officials concerned to ramp up COVID-19 testing in the state.

It also asked authorities to identify potential 'super-spreaders', like grocery shop owners, people providing door-to-door services, those working in the transport field, labourers, security guards deployed in housing societies, police and home guards.

"Several European countries are witnessing the second wave of COVID-19 currently. On the basis of that there is a possibility we may also get a second wave in January- February," said the circular.

It has asked district administrations, municipal corporations and medical officers to ensure there is no laxity in laboratory testings, and asked them to do all testings as per the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) guidelines.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO), there should a ratio of 140 tests per million population, it said. The circular also asked authorities to continue the survey of people having an influenza-like illness, with the help of flu centres in urban and rural areas of the state.

The house-to-house survey and contact-tracing should be done on war-footing, the circular said, and also asked to take proper care and screening of co-morbid population. Authorities have also been asked to ensure better bed management of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients in hospitals.

The government has also asked district and civic administrations to ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen and proper management of ambulances in hospitals.

"People have been advised to wear masks and follow all the social distancing and hygiene norms such as regular hand wash, avoiding spitting in public areas and unnecessary travel," Health Services Director Dr Archana Patil said in the circular.

Pune Collector Rajesh Deshmukh told PTI that as the number of infections has seen a decline in the district, the administration had allowed hospitals to use oxygenated COVID-19 beds for non-coronavirus treatment, but if the need be,they can be taken over again.

"We are fully prepared to handle any situation. We have everything in place, be it testing, infrastructure or manpower," he added. Maharashtra's COVID-19 tally has gone up to 17,57,520 with the state reporting 5,011 new cases of infection on Wednesday. With 100 new deaths recorded on Wednesday, the state's death toll rose to 46,202, according to the health department.

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