Centre asks UTs to augment lab, hospital infrastructure

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The Centre on Tuesday advised union territories to ramp up testing for COVID-19 and augment laboratory and hospital infrastructure to prepare for the next three weeks keeping in view the critical situation.

These were conveyed to top officials of the union territories at a review meeting by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

After a detailed discussion on various issues relating to COVID, the union home secretary asked the officials to maintain constant vigilance against the grave situation in union territories, according to an official statement.

It said strict enforcement of COVID-appropriate behaviour was stressed along with stricter enforcement of movement restrictions and prohibition of large gatherings, regulated timings for markets etc.

Bhalla advised the union territories to increase RT-PCR testing along with use of RAT for screening in clusters.

The central officials strongly recommended urgent review of clinical management.

Expressing concern over the worrying scenario, Member (Health) NITI Aayog V K Paul pointed out the criticality of next three weeks for COVID response measures.

The UT administrators were advised to plan in advance for three weeks, the statement said.

The UTs shared their present efforts for containment and management of the positive cases. Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and Lakshadweep pointed to the rise in cases due to large numbers of inbound travellers. Lakshadweep has seen a sudden spike in cases after April 14 primarily due to a large number of people travelling to the mainland to shop for the recent festive occasions.