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Centre releases Covid-19 guidelines for rural areas to check its spread

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Releasing the guidelines, the ministry of health and family welfare said that there is a need to enable communities and strengthen primary level healthcare infrastructure at all levels.

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, SNN, New Delhi

PUBLISHED ON MAY 16, 2021 11:55 AM IST

The Centre on Sunday released new guidelines in the wake of the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in rural areas. The government said that a gradual ingress is now being seen in peri-urban, rural and tribal areas as well.

Releasing the guidelines, the ministry of health and family welfare said that there is a need to enable communities, strengthen primary level healthcare infrastructure at all levels to intensify Covid-19 response in these areas while continuing to provide other essential health services.

The health ministry guidelines said that in every village, active surveillance should be done for influenza-like illness/severe acute respiratory infections(ILI/SARI) periodically by ASHA with help of Village Health Sanitation and Nutrition Committee (VHSNC).

It also asked the community health officer (CHO) the determine the seriousness of the infection by teleconsultation and recommend cases with comorbidities and low oxygen saturation to higher centres. It also said that the CHOs should be trained in performing rapid antigen testing (RAT) and the kits should be made at all public health facilities.

“These patients should be counselled to isolate themselves till test results are available. Those asymptomatic but having history of high-risk exposure to COVID patients (exposure of more than 15 mins without a mask within 6 feet distance) should be advised quarantine and tested as per ICMR protocol,” the ministry further said in the guidelines.

The guidelines also talk on focussing on contact tracing as per Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme’s (IDSP) guidelines, adding that those testing positive should be allowed to quarantine at home by following the protocols issued by the ministry.

Stressing on the need to monitor oxygen saturation levels, the ministry directed the VHSNC to mobilise resources through local PRI to make provisions for these equipment. Theremometres and pulse oximetres can be given the families in the rural areas on loan and follow-up vicits should be undertaken by frontline worker/volunteers/teacher following required infection prevention practices.

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