Rajiv Gauba, the Cabinet Secretary presided a high-level review meeting comprising DG Police, Chief Secretaries, and Health Secretaries from all states/union territories on Friday (April 2), with a priority on 11 states/union territories which have been experiencing a very big increase in reported cases and frequent mortality due to COVID-19 for the last 2 weeks, and declared the condition in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab, “particularly worrying.”

Punjab, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Chandigarh, Gujarat, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Haryana are among the states that received instructions during the review conference.

Keeping track of the existing condition as a result of the Covid scenario’s ongoing worsening over the last two weeks, the Cabinet Secretary reported that the latest Covid case inflation rate of 6.8 percent in March 2021 has exceeded the old record of 5.5 percent as of June 2020.

During this time, the nation also recorded a 5.5% rise in everyday Covid fatalities. Though India was registering approximately 97,000 active Covid cases per day at the height of the outbreak in September 2020, now it has hit a significant number of 81,000 cases reported per day.

Rajesh Bhushan, the Union Health Secretary outlined the present position of Covid throughout the states and Union territories in a comprehensive presentation, whereas Amit Khare, the Information and Broadcasting Secretary illustrated methods of successful behavioral modification communication to instill Covid acceptable behavior within the citizens.

Member Health of Niti Aayog, Dr. V.K. Paul, stresses the importance of states adhering to a protocol for exchanging clinical and epidemiological details to do a more comprehensive analysis of mutant strains of viruses for genome sequencing. The Union Home Secretary stated that now the 11 States as well as UTs which have seen an uptick in regular COVID reports have not seen a corresponding increase in containment operations. He advised the Chief Secretaries and DGs (Police) of the states and union territories to take effective and stringent steps concerning this.

Because of their rapidly rising daily caseloads and significantly greater fatalities, 11 states/UTs were classified as “states of grave concern.” Most have led 90 percent of COVID cases (as of March 31st) as well as 90.5 percent of fatalities (as of March 31st) over the last fourteen days, and also have passed and/or are on their way to breaking their early recorded thresholds from last year.

A further concerning factor mentioned was the latest huge increase in Covid cases in Tier-2 as well as Tier-3 regions, and even some peri-urban regions, and also how the disease is spreading from these locations to remote areas with poor health facilities would overpower the city administration.

The Cabinet Secretary stressed the value of not only diligence but also hard work in implementing containment as well as surveillance steps, and also increasing vaccination while specifically enforcing COVID Acceptable Conduct.

States were also urged to review patient Case Fatality Rates, develop an acceptable approach, and address questions about late enrollment in hospitals and non-adherence to the National Clinical Management Protocol. A requirement to develop District Action Plans including an emphasis on case mapping, updating ward/block metrics, an Incident Command System, a 24X7 Emergency Operations Center, was emphasized.