Taking a cue from the threat being posed by Delta Plus cases reported in the state, the Chief Secretary, Ms Vini Mahajan, on Sunday put the state machinery on an active mode to ensure surveillance and aggressive contact tracing and testing to contain the further spread of Delta Plus, a highly infectious variant of Covid.
Chairing a meeting of Covid Response Group here, the Chief Secretary said a few cases of Delta Plus variant have been reported in the state, one each from Patiala and Ludhiana, following which the situation demands active surveillance, aggressive contact tracing and testing to contain any further spread of the variant.
She said a proposal regarding installation of whole genome sequencing machine at Government Medical College in Patiala is being taken up by the Medical Education and Research Department and Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC).Further, in order to save data processing time at labs, she ordered to add barcodes to Covid samples for automating the data fetching at labs and ease in early facilitation of reports.
Reviewing the state’s efforts to thwart the much-anticipated third wave of pandemic, the Chief Secretary disclosed that a draft policy is being prepared to tackle any more possible wave of the infection. She also said that ICMR has approved dry swab testing in which sample collection in VTM and mRNA extraction is not required. The state is going to test this method on a trial basis on 1,000 samples.
She further stated that data regarding vaccination, disease outcome and whole genome sequencing has already been linked to Cova mobile app and other parameters will be linked soon. She added that GIS linking may also be done.The Chief Secretary asked the Health authorities to closely monitor the districts with high positivity rate and district epidemiologists were directed to further identify pockets which were reporting higher numbers of cases within their respective districts.
Principal Secretaries DK Tiwari (Medical Education and Research), Hussan Lal (Health and Family Welfare), Secretary Health and NHM Punjab MD Kumar Rahul, Executive Director SHSRC Dr Rajesh Kumar, Covid nodal officer Dr Rajesh Bhaskar and other senior officers of the Punjab Government also attended the meeting.