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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Colour-coded response for future Covid spikes in Delhi

Delhi govt expert committee in final stages of preparing action plan, which will guide measures ranging from shutdown of markets to increase in ICU beds.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: July 3, 2021 7:43:04 am
A Covid-19 patient waits to be admitted at LNJP hospital for treatment, in New Delhi on June 14, 2021. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra)

A Delhi government expert committee is in the final stages of preparing a graded response action plan on Covid-19, which is likely to guide measures ranging from shutdown of markets to increase in ICU beds to tackle a possible surge of infections in the city in the future, officials said Friday.

The eight-member committee, comprising bureaucrats, doctors and heads of hospitals, has reached a consensus to make the plan colour-coded for greater resonance among the public, a senior official said. The committee was formed to devise strategies to handle a possible third wave.

For now, it has been decided that four alerts — yellow, amber, orange, and red — will be sounded based on the severity of the Covid-19 situation. Every alert will come with its own set of mitigatory and preventive measures like the graded response action plan in case of tackling air pollution, the official said.

“The idea is to move away from a situation where measures are taken after rounds of meetings, resulting in unnecessary delays. And this happens despite knowing what kind of restrictions are required at what level as the country and Delhi have witnessed multiple surges in infections by now. The graded action will automatically set the course of action based on a set of objective criteria,” the official quoted above said.

The mandate of the committee was to draw up guidelines on when to announce a lockdown and the degree of strictness that various situations require. “The mandate was very clear. The committee was expected to prepare various action plans based on new cases, active cases, test positivity rate. For example, if the test positivity rate remains above x for y days, an alert will be sounded, and the associated measures will be deemed to be in force,” another official said.

Apart from lockdown, the alerts will also determine the augmentation of hospital infrastructure such as isolation, oxygen and ICU beds, ventilators as well as medicines and medical oxygen.

The mandate of the committee was also to chalk out the plan in a manner that hospitals to be designated for Covid treatment at different stages are identified in advance.

“For example, there must be a clear plan at 5/10/15/20/25/30% positivity rate, which facilities wiIl have how many beds allocated, which are the new facilities being added in the city as the percentage goes up along with allied components required to operate these facilities. The plan should be prepared in such a manner that each stage of the plan can be activated within a short time frame,” said the order laying out the mandate.

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