Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Shri G. Kishan Reddy chairs a meeting to monitor the preparedness of COVID-19 situation in North Eastern Region

New Delhi : A review meeting was conducted under the chairmanship of Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) G. Kishan Reddy today to monitor the preparedness of the eight states of the North Eastern Region (NER) with respect to the COVID-19 situation.

The meeting was attended by the respective Health Ministers of the 8 North Eastern States.  Secretary, DONER, Joint Secretary, Health & Family Welfare and Health Secretaries from the North Eastern Region States along with senior officials of both the Ministries and their organisations were also present.

G Kishan Reddy called on all the state health ministers to develop medical and health infrastructure, procure medicines and procure COVID-19 specific essentials such as masks, PPE kits and oxygen concentrators etc. He also urged the states to use all media and communication channels to bring awareness about the 3rd wave due to the Omicron variant.

The Minister called on the state officials to ensure that all COVID-19 specific protocols are followed and stressed on regular RT-PCR testing, and home isolation in the case of non-critical cases as per the standard operating procedures (SOPs) released by the Government of India. The Minister also requested all the 8 states to adopt the Teleconsultation platform eSanjeevani that has hubs at a district level to ensure that those under home isolation have access to regular health care and monitoring and also to ensure that they have supplies of essentials and medical kits. Apart from this the Union Minister also advised for strict enforcement measures and extensive testing and contact tracing measures. He said, all measures should be taken for observing COVID-appropriate behaviour and management of micro containment zones, wherever it becomes necessary.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family welfare also presented state specific observations and requested individual states to prioritise based on the specific issues highlighted for the respective states.  During the meeting brief presentations were given by the states on the steps taken to strengthen the monitoring and containment mechanism, measures taken to enforce the norms of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, testing of OMICRON variant, status of buffer stocks of essential drugs, status of beds (normal, oxygen and ventilators) and functionality of oxygen supply equipment.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also shared major initiatives and programmes being undertaken in the Health Sector to tackle COVID-19 for North Eastern Region States. Some of the key issues discussed during the meeting are as below:

•           Full vaccination of 15-18 years population

•           Provisioning of extra beds with Covid facilities at Hospital/PHC

•           Monitoring at State level

•           Reporting of Covid cases on real time basis

•           State Govt’s request for extra fund/vaccines

The Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and DoNER G Kishan Reddy has urged the States and Local Governments to work together at different levels to tackle the COVID-19 situation. The Minister also stated that under the leadership of Home Minister, a task force has been set up to bring cohesion and provide a collaborative effort towards addressing the issues that states were facing.

The Union Minister advised the North East States to utilise the unspent balances allocated to the States under NESIDS Scheme and the Emergency Covid Response Package (ECRP-Phase-II) for creation of health infrastructure in the states. He also stressed that funds released by the Union Health Ministry to NE States to tackle COVID-19 may be utilised on priority for augmentation of medical infrastructure by establishing field hospitals and oxygen supported beds along with establishment of other medical setups, etc.

The Minister directed for a periodic review to monitor the COVID scenario in the North Eastern Region and assured to take up state specific issues with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for early redressal. The Union Minister also expressed satisfaction that all the North Eastern States have sufficient bed capacities and oxygen stock currently and recognised the efforts of the Ministry of DoNER and the North East Council in taking proactive steps in supplementing and augmenting the COVID related infrastructure and all the support required in the region to fight against this wave of the pandemic