CS reviews public health system preparedness to Omicron

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Dec 22: The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta today chaired a meeting to review the public health system preparedness to new COVID variant Omicron, which is reportedly 3-4 times more infectious than the Delta variant.
Additional Chief Secretary, Health & Medical Education, Divisional Commissioners Kashmir/ Jammu, all Deputy Commissioners, MD National Health Mission, Director, Family Welfare, and concerned HoDs participated in the meeting.
It was informed that the three cases of Omicron variant of COVID were reported in Jammu, all of whom are without any travel history and are now being monitored.
The Chief Secretary directed the district administration to enhance testing and contact tracing for positive patients and closely trace the infection trajectory to establish micro-containment zones at an early stage. Additionally, all Deputy Commissioners were directed to ensure strict enforcement of COVID Appropriate Behaviour (CAB), COVID SOPs/ protocols, and micro-containment zones, besides regulating large gatherings. “Any breach on these accounts will lead to imposition of night curfews and further restrictions”, Dr. Mehta added.
Moreover, the Divisional and District Administrations were asked to establish buffer zones around the declared micro-containment zones and monitor the spread of the disease to guide further actions. All line departments were directed to appoint one nodal officer for ensuring CAB adherence across all Government offices with a special focus on industries and transport.
Further, Health Department was asked to remain in a state of readiness by gearing up their manpower and machinery and firming up the inventory of oxygen supply and medicines. The Health and Medical Education Department was asked to ensure proper functioning of COVID-related infrastructure including COVID dedicated hospitals, ventilators, oxygen supported beds and oxygen plants. The Department was also asked to monitor international travelers through the Air Suvidha portal and accordingly make COVID containment arrangements to regulate their testing, quarantine and treatment in respective cases.
Additionally, the National Health Mission was asked to continue with the COVID-dedicated IEC campaign to generate mass awareness on various preventive measures and COVID Appropriate Behaviour, besides completing the full vaccination of the remaining eligible population.
Meanwhile, Chief Secretary chaired a meeting to review the functioning of the Higher Education Department.
Principal Secretary, Higher Education Department, Mission Director, Rashtriya Uchachatar Shiksha Abhiyan, and concerned officers participated in the meeting.
It was informed that under the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the Department is contemplating various reforms for structural changes in the education sector encompassing multidisciplinary studies; skill-based courses, and courses on Indian culture and traditions.
Accordingly, the technical educational institutions namely IIT Jammu, IIM Jammu, and AIIMS Jammu have signed MoUs to provide integrated courses to the students of these institutions. Similarly, the SMVDU, University of Kashmir, Cluster University, Jammu/ Kashmir have also started integrated programs with special exit provisions, besides strengthening the research and skill enhancement courses.
The Chief Secretary asked the Department to rationalize the availability of teachers at new colleges on the basis of respective student enrolments and evolve a strategy to promote synergy and integration among all colleges through e-lectures in virtual mode.
The Department was further asked to explore additional activities for utilizing the state-of-the-art infrastructure available with the colleges in extra-curricular teaching and learning experiences, and awareness generation activities.
Dr. Mehta urged the Department to frame timelines for granting academic autonomy to the Government Degree Colleges and receive NAAC accreditation over the next five years.