New strain of COVID-19: Maharashtra Chief Minister instructs district administration to ramp up tests and infrastructure

Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on Tuesday, directed the district administration to remain alert in the wake of the detection of a new variant of the virus in the United Kingdom and increase testing, augment stock of ventilators and medicine and ramp up institutional quarantine facilities. In a video conference, he said that the administration will be vigilant and ready to combat a new strain of coronavirus in the UK and some other countries and its spread.

Thackeray hailed the work of all the concerned departments, district and state administration and agencies in controlling the coronavirus pandemic in Maharashtra. “Don’t be complacent, but be prepared to combat a new variant of coronavirus. Adequate stocks of oxygen, ventilators and medicines should be maintained and institutional quarantine and isolation facilities should be provided. Increase the testing considering the pace of spread of the new strain of coronavirus,” he told the administration.

Thackeray said doctors in the task force should study whether there are genetic changes in the coronavirus locally. The task force will be studying the method of treatment for the new type of coronavirus.

The CM said that the health department has data from across the state on people with comorbidities under the 'My Family, My Responsibility' campaign. He asked the local health system to contact such sympathetic patients, interact with them and alert them while taking care of their health.

Thackeray reminded that the government has decided to impose a night curfew in the municipal areas from 11 pm to 6 am from today. He asked the district administration to coordinate with Delhi and other states on the arrival of international travellers and their travel plans.

“We were able to control the summer-monsoon epidemics. However, outbreaks such as cold, fever and coughs have increased in the winter. With this in mind, more emphasis should be placed on COVID-19 tests. For this, testing laboratories in the state should be used at full capacity. The RT-PCR tests should be increased,’’ said CM.

CM also reviewed the preparations for vaccination, including the vaccination system, data collection and transmission of health workers who need to be vaccinated in the first phase, and arrangement of cold storages and training. He asked the District Task Force to hold meetings regarding vaccination.

While focusing on reducing the number of deaths due to COVID-19, attention should also be paid to non-COVID-19 patients, said the CM.

Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope also asked the district administration and health machinery to increase surveillance in the wake of the discovery of the new virus. He also said that the district collector should ensure that the supply of oxygen is maintained while increasing the number of RT-PCR tests.

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