54,000 people across country under community surveillance, says Health Minister

PTI New Delhi | Updated on March 17, 2020 Published on March 17, 2020

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan

Around 54,000 people across the country are being kept under community surveillance through health workers, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan told Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, while lauding efforts of doctors and paramedics in dealing with cases of coronavirus.

“As one metre social distancing is required to be taken while dealing with those affected with the virus, I laud doctors and paramedics who are working with dedication while taking risks in treating these patients. I laud all doctors and paramedics, be it in villages or cities or in private or government in controlling coronavirus at all levels,” he told the House while replying to supplementaries during Question Hour.

The remarks made by Vardhan were lauded by all members including those from the Opposition, with Anand Sharma (Congress) also appreciating the steps.

The minister also urged MPs to visit quarantine facilities in their areas, and suggest ways to help improve facilities and take care of deficiencies.

‘High quality treatment’

Vardhan said a total of 54,000 people are under community surveillance across the country, and health staff are helping in keeping in touch with them while under quarantine. he also noted that the response has been positive in appreciating the high quality treatment at quarantine facilities.

He also said that ICMR scientists are in touch with scientists all over the world regarding use of retroviral drugs in treating coronavirus patients and in the research underway across the world in finding treatment of the virus. “We request members to help us by visiting such quarantine facilities in states and give us real-time feedback, to help us improve such facilities,” he said.

On reports about poor facilities at such centres, he said, “these reports are exceptions, but these are are not the rule.”

“I can agree with you that the facilities may not be good. It is quite possible that at some places bathrooms may not be 5-star type. We are conveying in strongest possible manner on such complaints. These are rare complaints and are not frequent complaints received,” he told the House.

Challenges are huge, says Vardhan

The Minister also informed the House that Indian scientist at ICMR are in touch with global research for treating the virus.

“We have also heard about some research being done in the United States,” he said, adding new vaccines can only be introduced after following a procedure. “We are using all kinds of retroviral drugs for treating coronavirus patients...We are thoroughly seized of the issue. We are trying to do our best for patients and treating them,” he said.

Earlier, Anand Sharma (Congress) said, “We do appreciate steps being taken as per WHO protocol. But the challenges are huge, given the size of the country. There are some disturbing reports about the condition of quarantine facilities.”

Published on March 17, 2020
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