COVID-19: Centre rushes 50 high-level public health teams to Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab

NEW DELHI: The central government has constituted 50 high-level multi-disciplinary public health teams and deployed them to 50 districts across Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab in view of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

The teams are being rushed to 30 districts of Maharashtra, 11 districts of Chhattisgarh and nine districts of Punjab to assist the state health department and local authorities in COVID-19 surveillance, control and containment measures, the Health Ministry said on Monday.

The two-member high-level team consists of a clinician/epidemiologist and a public health expert.

“The teams will visit the states immediately and monitor the overall implementation of COVID19 management, especially in testing, including surveillance and containment operations, COVID-appropriate behaviour and its enforcement, availability of hospital beds, sufficient logistics, including ambulances, ventilators, medical oxygen, etc. and COVID-19 vaccination progress,” the ministry said.

Three senior officers from the central government have been appointed as nodal officers for Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Punjab.

Vijoy Kumar Singh, Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor, Ministry of Textile is the nodal officer for Punjab, Richa Sharma, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the nodal officer for Chhattisgarh and Kunak Kumar, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban affairs is the nodal officer for Maharashtra.

The high-level teams will report to and coordinate with the nodal officers for the three states, the ministry said.

They will submit daily reports on five aspects, including testing, contact tracing, hospital infrastructure, enforcement of COVID-appropriate behaviour and vaccination, it said.

The Union government has been leading the fight against the global pandemic with a ‘Whole of Government’ and ‘Whole of Society’ approach under the umbrella strategy of ‘Cooperative Federalism’, the ministry stated.

As an ongoing effort to strengthen efforts of various state and UT governments for COVID management, the Centre has been deputing teams from time to time to visit various states and Union Territories.

These teams interact with authorities and get a first hand understanding of the challenges and issues being faced by them to strengthen their ongoing activities and remove bottlenecks, if any.