Centre advises states to follow five-fold strategy amid Omicron scare

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday advised states and UTs to not let their guard down and maintain their preparedness in the fight against the Covid pandemic and to follow five-fold strategy in view of the new variant Omicron.

The states have been asked to put in place the local containment measures by the District and local administration when either the test positivity increases beyond 10 percent or occupancy of oxygenated beds increases beyond 40 percent.

“Based on the local situation and population characteristics such as density and others and keeping in mind the higher transmissibility of Omicron, States/UTs can undertake containment measures and impose restrictions even before these thresholds are reached”, the Health Ministry has said.

The states have been advised to follow the five-fold strategy of Containment, Testing & Surveillance, Clinical Management, Covid Safe Behavior and Vaccination.

On Containment, the states have been advised to impose night curfews and ensure strict regulation of large gatherings, especially ahead of the forthcoming festivities. The states need to have keep strict watch on number of Delta and Omicron cases in all districts, and case positivity on a day-on-day and week-on-week basis.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan reviewed the public health preparedness of the states for fighting Covid-19 and said that any restriction must be enforced for minimum of 14 days. As syndromes of Omicron variant closely mimic common cold with a higher rate of transmissibility and doubling time, syndromic approach for Covid containment can be employed, said Bhushan.

The states have also been informed that the existing National Clinical Management Protocol remains unchanged for Omicron. They were advised to increase bed capacity, ensure logistics like ambulances and enforce mechanism for seamless shifting of patients. “Utilise funds sanctioned under Emergency Covid Response Package (ECRP-II) to ensure that the requisite capacity of health systems is developed at/near hotspots to respond to any emergency”, said ministry to the states.

On the front of Covid Safe Behaviour, states have been asked to ensure advance engagement and information so that there is no misinformation or panic. The states have been asked to ensure 100 per cent coverage of left out first and second dose eligible beneficiaries in an accelerated manner and give special focus to those districts where the first and second dose coverage is less than the national average.