Importantly, the report has set timelines for undertaking the containment measures proposed by it. It has recommended that the Delhi government finalise a containment plan by June 22, set up district-level teams by June 23, issue amended limitation of all containment zones by June 26, complete 100% survey of containment zones by June 30 and a comprehensive survey of the rest of Delhi by July 6.
The report of the committee led by Niti Aayog member Vinod K Paul — presented at a meeting chaired by Shah and attended by Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, Delhi LG Anil Baijal and chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday — also recommended conducting a serological survey in all of Delhi between June 27 and July 10, during which 20,000 individual samples will be collected and tested.
The outcome of the survey, the home ministry said, would help in assessing the extent of Covid-19 spread in Delhi and help firm up a comprehensive strategy.
The V K Paul committee has recommended aggressive contact tracing of infected people in Delhi and proper quarantining of contacts with the joint use of Aarogya Setu and Itihas applications. Every house outside the contact zones should also be mapped and monitored to help get a full picture of Delhi’s situation, the report said. Those detected as Covid-19-positive should be spread across hospitals, Covid care centres or kept under home isolation. Volunteers from independent organisations as well as NGOs should be enlisted to assist in better administration of Covid care centres, the panel suggested.
As per another recommendation by the committee, each district should be linked to a major hospital that will offer the requisite assistance to handle Covid-19 cases.
Shah, at the meeting, also directed the Delhi government to assess each death caused by Covid-19, covering aspects such as how many days after the patient was brought to hospital did the death occur as also if the patient was under home isolation and hospitalised in time.
“Each death should be reported to the Centre,” a home ministry release issued after the meeting said.
Shah said all Covid-positive patients should first be referred to Covid care centres, while patients who had adequate home isolation facilities and did not suffer any co-morbidities could be allowed home isolation. “The government of India should be kept informed as to how many people are under home isolation in Delhi,” the home ministry said.
Shah asked the Delhi government to take the technical help for reassessment of status of containment zones, apart from urging Kejriwal to implement the committee’s recommendations at the earliest.