Airline employees seen wearing masks as a precautionary measure against coronavirus at Mumbai international airport
Airline employees seen wearing masks as a precautionary measure against coronavirus at Mumbai international airport | Representational image | PTI
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New Delhi: The Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry Tuesday released new guidelines to treat coronavirus cases in facilities other than hospitals, an attempt to use resources “judiciously” as India’s case total went past 4,000.

According to the ministry, there will now be a three-tier system to treat patients, depending on the severity of symptoms. 

Under the system, only severe cases will be admitted in “Dedicated Covid Hospitals”, which would have fully-equipped ICUs, ventilators, and beds with oxygen support. The patients assigned as moderate cases will be treated in “Covid Health Centres”, which would be full hospitals or a separate block within the premises with its own exit/entry and assured oxygen support.

The cases diagnosed as mild, meanwhile, will be treated at “Covid Care Centres” to be set up in select hostels, hotels, stadiums and lodges, government-owned as well as private.

“As the number of cases increases, it would be important to prepare the health system and use the existing resources judicially,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, at Tuesday’s press briefing.

The Covid Care Centres, he added, “will be mapped into one or more dedicated Covid Health Centres and one Covid Hospital for referral”. 

According to the ministry, global evidence shows that 70 per cent of Covid-19 cases exhibit mild symptoms that may not require hospitalisation. 

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India rose to 4,421 Tuesday, with 117 deaths. This included 352 new cases (over Wednesday) and eight new deaths. The number of cases in India has been doubling every 4.1 days, the health ministry had said last week.


Also Read: The four stages of Covid-19 transmission & why India maintains it is not yet in stage 3


‘Containment plans working in districts’

The containment measures taken by the government have already shown results in districts with a high number of cases like Agra, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Bhilwara, East Delhi and Pathanamthitta, said Agarwal.

He added that no decision had been taken to extend the ongoing 21-day lockdown to check Covid-19. 

Stressing the importance of social distancing, he cited a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that suggests the absence of a lockdown would lead one infected person to infect 406 others in 30 days. 

In case of a situation where 75 per cent of the people follow a lockdown, the same person can infect only 2.5 people in 30 days, said Agarwal, describing social distancing as a social vaccine. 


Also Read: In India’s fight against coronavirus, one arm failed miserably — Parliament


 

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