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Coronavirus containment plan

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Coronavirus containment plan

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Overview, need for and significance of the containment plan.

Context: India has prepared a “containment” plan, essentially an updated version of an earlier Health Ministry blueprint that was drawn up when the only COVID-19 cases were those coming from abroad.

What are the components of the containment plan?

The plan outlines a strategic approach based on the stage of transmission.

Five stages have been identified — travel-related case reported in India; local transmission; large outbreaks amenable to containment; widespread community transmission; India becoming endemic for COVID-19.

The plan is subject to revisions if required, as and when there is greater clarity about some of these aspects.

What is the approach recommended for the various stages?

Containment of local transmission:

  1. Extensive contact tracing and search for cases in the containment zone.
  2. Testing all suspect cases and high-risk contacts.
  3. Isolating all suspect or confirmed cases.
  4. Quarantining contacts and social distancing.

For larger outbreaks, in addition to the usual measures:

There is higher focus on a particular geographic zone and hospitals around the area are prepared for a rise in cases. In addition, all asymptomatic healthcare workers are to be given hydroxychloroquine as a preventive.

How are confirmed and suspected cases to be dealt with?

  1. All suspect/confirmed COVID-19 cases will be hospitalized and kept in isolation in dedicated COVID-19 hospitals/hospital blocks.
  2. Persons testing positive for COVID-19 will remain hospitalized till such time as two of their samples are tested negative as per discharge policy.
  3. To reduce the burden on hospitals, there is a plan to temporarily convert hotels/ hostels/ guesthouses/ stadiums near a COVID-19 hospital as care centres where mild cases may be kept.
  4. Dedicated COVID-19 hospitals/dedicated blocks in large hospitals will be identified and operationalized.
  5. Moderate to severe cases, who require monitoring of their clinical status (patients with radiological evidence of pneumonia) will be admitted to COVID hospital. For more severe cases requiring respiratory or other support, tertiary care centres both private and government will be included as part of the micro plan.

Differential approach:

The plan has differential approach to different regions of the country, while mounting a strong containment effort in hot spots.

The Health Ministry has issued directions for categorisation of designated facilities into three groups — COVID care centres, COVID health centres and dedicated COVID hospitals.

  1. The care centres will be for cases clinically assigned as mild or very mild, or suspected cases.
  2. The health centres are hospitals that will offer care for all cases that have been clinically assigned as moderate.
  3. The dedicated hospitals will offer comprehensive care, primarily for those clinically assigned as severe.

Protection of healthcare personnel:

The plan reiterates the need for adequate PPE.

  1. At all times doctors, nurses and para-medics working in the clinical areas will wear three-layered surgical mask and gloves.
  2. The medical personnel working in isolation and critical care facilities where aerozolisation is anticipated, will wear full complement of PPE (including N95 masks).
  3. The support staff engaged in cleaning and disinfection will also wear full complement of PPE.
  4. Environmental cleaning should be done twice daily and consist of damp dusting and floor mopping with Lysol or other phenolic disinfectants and cleaning of commonly touched surfaces with sodium hypochlorite solution.
  5. Sodium hypochlorite is already being used extensively, including in the Nizamuddin headquarters of the Tablighi Jamaat.

Sources: Indian Express.