· INFORMS AICC MEET THAT STATE GOVT. STRENGTHENING CONTAINMENT MEASURES UNDER GUIDANCE OF EXPERT GROUP
Chandigarh, April 23 (Punjab Mail)- Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday said he had ordered detailed audit of every COVID death by experts to understand and check the high mortality rate in the state, and the government was also strengthening its pandemic containment measures, under the guidance of an expert team.
The Chief Minister gave this update to Congress president Sonia Gandhi during a Video Conference, at which he informed the party leadership that the state government was being guided by a Group of Experts in handling the COVID crisis. The group comprises Dr. KK Talwar, former Director PGI; Dr. Raj Bahadur, VC State Health University; Dr. Rajesh Kumar, former Head, School of Public Health, PGI, as well as Experts from PGI, John Hopkins University, etc
The mortality numbers in the state were high largely due to co-morbidity and lack of health-seeking behaviour (patients come late to hospital), said Captain Amarinder.
Despite the high mortality rate of 6.2%, the rate of growth of COVID-19 in the Punjab was lower than India, with the cases doubling in 16 days against the national average of 9 days. In percentage terms, cases in Punjab had steadily declined from 2.57% of the total cases in India (as of March 31) to 1.22% in 3 weeks (till April 22), revealing effective containment of Covid-19 in the State, said the Chief Minister.
Captain Amarinder cited the example of Nawanshahar as a case of effective containment, that had been appreciated by the Government of India as well as the media. In Nawanshahar, which was one of the first hotspots in the country, all 18 treated cases (besides 1 initial death of Granthi Baldev Singh) had recovered and been discharged, and no case had been reported since 26 March 2020, he informed the meeting.
The Chief Minister said Punjab had to be compared with Kerala and Gujarat, which were also states with high NRI population. Punjab was doing significantly better than Gujarat, and in terms of cases per million population, even lower than Kerala (9/million in Punjab vs. 12/million in Kerala), he pointed out.
Punjab currently has 257 positive cases, with 16 dead and two critical patients (one on ventilator and one on HDU), while 53 had been cured/discharged. The state has 3 Containment Zones (where there are more than 15 cases – Jawaharpur, Safabadi Gate-Patiala, Budhlada), while three districts (Ferozepur, Fazilka, Bathinda) are Green Zones with no cases. The state has COVID Isolation Hospitals as of date.
With respect to testing, the Chief Minister said 7887 tests have bene done so far, with regular testing facility of 400/day each at GMC Amritsar and GMC Patiala, 150/day at GMC Faridkot and IMTECH Chandigarh, and 60/day at PGI Chandigarh – 60/day. In addition, testing facilities are available in private hospitals as follows: DMC Ludhiana – 40/day and Tuli Diagnostic Lab, Amritsar – 100/day. Clearance for CMC Ludhiana and SGRD Medical College, Amritsar, for testing is in process, he disclosed. At present, the testing rate in the state, at 248/million, is slightly lower than national average of 309/million (excluding Rapid Testing).
Regarding the Rapid Testing, the Chief Minister said 3502 cases were tested before ICMR suspended such tests. The state currently has 10500 rapid testing kits supplied by ICMR, while 10000 had been ordered by the state government, with deliveries in progress. The government has also floated tender inquiry for another 50000 kits.