Review the crash, impose cluster restrictions - the health expert working group to govern

NEW DELHI: A group of public health experts urged the Center Tuesday to consider revising the levy to combat the coronavirus pandemic and replace it with cluster restrictions.

The 'Joint Task Force' constituted by the Indian Public Health Association (IPHA) and the Indian Prevention Association and (IAPSM), in a statement, called on the government to also increase public awareness and preventive measures, as well as to guarantee that people maintain physical distance avoiding social stigma.

The 13-member working group includes AIIMS physicians, PGIMER Chandigarh, JNU professors, and Hindu University of Banaras and experts from the Indian Public Health Foundation.

Proposing a 10-point action plan to combat the pandemic, he urged the government to ensure the universal use of the masks and to test, track and isolate with a marked increase in diagnostic facilities. Experts called for rapid response teams, strengthening intensive care capacity and optimal PPE for front-line healthcare workers.

Implement mobile multidisciplinary Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) (well equipped with PPE) at the district level coordinated by the District Surveillance Officer (DSO) and supported by the Epidemiologist and District Public Health Laboratory (with sufficient test kits).

The nosocomial infection of COVD-19 is a serious challenge that affects the safety and morale of healthcare providers (HCP). This is also an important way of amplifying and accelerating the transmission of infection once HCPs become 'super propagators'. The appropriate PPE must be provided to the PS must instill confidence and identified alternative equipment to deal with wear and tear due to fatigue, exposure and quarantine, the JTF said.

He said that a Public Health Commission could be constituted urgently with Working Groups of specific tasks to provide technical inputs in real time to the government and called for an increase in health spending to 5 percent of GDP and focus on strengthening the public health system .

It is not realistic that the COVID-19 pandemic can be eliminated at this stage since the entire population is susceptible. At this time, there is no known effective vaccine or treatment for the disease, the team said.

He said a realistic goal would be to spread the disease over an extended period of time and to plan and manage effectively so that the health care delivery system is not overwhelmed. We urge the government of India to consider a 10-point action plan for pandemic control in India, the task force said.