The Union Health Ministry on Friday termed the allegations levelled by Twitter users about the lack of Covid-testing, isolation and clinical management facilities at the village level and scarcity of PPE kits as “untenable”.
Issuing a statement, the ministry said the availability of rapid-antigen kits and the provision for swabbing for the RT-PCR test at a primary health centre located in a remote interior village in the hills, as brought out in some tweets, is testimony to the government’s commitment to manage Covid in the rural and far-flung areas.
Some Twitter users had tweeted about the management of COVID-19 in rural settings.
The issues raised in these tweets include lack of testing, isolation and clinical management facilities at the village level, overmedication by healthcare workers, scarcity of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits etc., the ministry said in a statement.
“The availability of rapid-antigen kits and the provision for swabbing for the RT-PCR test at a primary health centre located in a remote interior village in the hills, as brought out in these tweets, is testimony to the commitment of the government to manage Covid in rural and far-flung areas,” it said.
Taking note of the ingress of Covid cases from the peri-urban and rural areas of the country during the resurgence of the COVID-19 trajectory in the preceding months, the ministry has issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) on COVID-19 containment and management in the peri-urban, rural and tribal areas, it said.
The ministry also ensured that these guidelines were widely circulated to reach even the remotest of the health facilities, the statement said.
The states have been advised explicitly that under no circumstances should patients be isolated at home if they do not fulfil the norms stipulated by the home-isolation guidelines, which focus on an adequate number of rooms to self-isolate and the presence of a care giver, it added.
Further, on the insistence of the Centre, the states have developed a stringent mechanism to monitor the patients in home isolation on a daily basis, the statement said. Patients who do not have the requisite facilities at home are always advised to be kept in Covid care centres for which the government has created over 10 lakh isolation beds across the country, it said.
“The Government of India has created a large number of manufacturing facilities for the production of PPEs. So much so that we are now the second largest manufacturer of PPEs in the world and have the capacity to manufacture about 10 lakh PPEs per day. PPEs have been made available to the states in excess of their demands. Hence, the allegation in these tweeted threads that health workers do not have requisite PPEs is untenable,” the ministry said.