Published on June 15, 2021

Part of Preparing for the Third Wave series

AHMEDABAD: How would Gujarat know that the state has entered the ‘third wave’ of pandemic? Apart from exponential rise in cases, would there be any alarm bells to alert the authorities and citizens alike, right at the start, so that the peak could be flattened?

On Monday, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani along with senior state officials launched the plan to mitigate the third wave where one of the strategies was to keep a close eye on the progression of cases.

Top officials said that world over, the Covid pandemic has proved to be cyclic in nature, and the only way to counter it would be to predict its spread and contain it.

“We have thus devised three primary criteria based on which all the districts and cities would be measured,” said a senior health department official.

“It includes weekly test positivity rate, rate of increase in cases and occupancy for oxygen and ICU beds. Till yellow alert, almost all the activities are permissible, but once it goes into orange and red alert, the authorities would be empowered to impose restrictions.”

For example, if a district records 5% test passivity rate with steady rise in cases for two weeks, the authorities would announce orange alert with restrictions on schools and colleges, offices and public places, banning public gatherings and increase per million testing rate to curb the rise.

“Methods such as ILI and SARI surveillance and contact tracing of the confirmed positive person would also continue. ITIHAS also helped to forecast the rise in cases in specific areas, based on which the deployment of Sanjeevani Rath had been planned,” said an official, adding that minimum testing would continue in all districts irrespective of fall in daily cases.

Officials added that focus would sharply be on the rural areas with relatively lower testing and positivity rates.

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