Omicron alert: Centre to send multi-disciplinary teams to 10 states

Published on Dec 25, 2021 12:50 PM IST

The 10 states where the central multidisciplinary teams are to be deployed are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Mizoram, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Punjab.

People visit a crowded market on Christmas eve amid concern over rising Omicron cases in Ranchi. (PTI)
People visit a crowded market on Christmas eve amid concern over rising Omicron cases in Ranchi. (PTI)
Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In view of rising concerns over the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the coronavirus, the Centre has decided to send special multi-disciplinary teams to 10 states and Union territories, which are either reporting a high number of infections from the new strain or have a low pace of the vaccination against coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“In view of rapid surge in cases and deaths because of Covid-19, as reported by various news channels, the state governments, and noted in internal reviews, it has been seen that the number of Omicron cases have emerged in some states,” the Union ministry of health and family welfare said in a letter, tweeted by the ANI news agency.

The 10 states where the central multidisciplinary teams are to be deployed are Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Mizoram, Karnataka, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Punjab.

“It has also been observed that the pace of Covid-19 vaccination in these states is less than the national average,” it added. “In wake of this situation, a decision has been taken to deploy multi-disciplinary central teams to 10 identified states, some of which are either reporting an increasing number of Omicron and Covid-19 cases or slow vaccination pace (list enclosed), to aid the efforts of the state and district administration for management of Covid-19.”

The central teams shall be stationed in the allotted states for a period of three to five days and will work along with state health authorities, read the health ministry letter.

As per the ministry, these teams will specifically look at areas of contact tracing, including surveillance, containment operations, and Covid-19 testing, including the sending of adequate samples from clusters to the INSACOG network for genome sequencing.

The teams will also be responsible for the enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour, availability of hospital beds, sufficient logistics including ambulances, ventilators, medical oxygen, etc, and Covid-19 vaccination progress in the states.

The state-level central teams will assess the situation, suggest remedial actions, and submit a report every evening by 7pm on the public health activities being undertaken to both the central and state government, the memorandum added.

India on Saturday reported 415 cases of the Omicron variant—up from 358 from Friday—even as several states enforced several restrictions to stop its spread. Of these 415 cases found across 17 states and Union territories, 115 have already recovered.

Maharashtra has recorded a maximum of 108 Omicron cases, followed by Delhi at 79, Gujarat 43, Telangana 38, Kerala 37, Tamil Nadu 34, and Karnataka 31.

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