Acting upon the increasing cases of the new variants like delta, delta plus come to spread and are fuelling the potentiality of imminent (4-6 weeks), more severe third wave with wider geographical area the Disaster Management has made modifications/ alternations and additions in the lockdown restrictions and hereby promulgated for compliance by all.
INSACOG (a consortium of laboratories for Whole Genome Sequencing in the context of Covid 19 pandemic) has intimated that Delta Plus Variant is currently a Variant of Concern (VOC) with following characteristics:
1. Increased transmissibility
2. Stronger binding to receptors of lung cells
3. Potential reductions in monoclonal antibody response;
The variant has been found in Maharashtra – in Ratnagiri, Jalgaon and other districts – requiring stricter restrictions in general to contain the spread of this virus.
These mutations to the virus and its continual evolution mean that unforeseen situations may unfold requiring wider and stricter restrictions, though current indices taken into account for imposing administrative level restrictions may indicate so and thus state level triggers other than Oxygen Beds Occupancy at state level need to be promulgated.
And whereas feedback and experience with not so satisfactory CAB compliance by public at large as well as deliberations of Task Force created for recommendation on Covid Treatment Protocols require revising the said order;
1. State Level Triggers: Given that the virus causing Covid 19 is undergoing mutations in various geographies and that these mutations are displaying more transmissibility and potential reductions in monoclonal antibody response, a State Level Trigger mandating all the administrative units, irrespective of values of the indices of weekly positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy percentage to remain at a level not below 3 is to be in operation till withdrawn by specific order of SDMA.
2. Weekly Positivity Rate: Weekly positivity rate to be considered for decision regarding levels of restrictions to be applied must be determined only on the basis of RT-PCR tests and not RAT or other tests. Data for this shall be made available by Public Health Department.
3. Declaration Process for Levels of Restrictions to be followed by DDMA: DDMA shall take data from Public Health Department and shall decide the level of restrictions that maybe followed in various administrative units under their jurisdiction subject to any State Level Trigger in operation. Above referred order of 4th June, 2021 gives the base level, subject to State Level Triggers, that they must adhere to as a minimum. However, as mentioned in the section VI of the above referred order of 4th June, 2021 DDMA may decide to impose higher level of restrictions or further restrictions with the same base level of restrictions. DDMA shall not require prior permission of SDMA for going for higher level of restrictions or putting extra restrictions.
4. While coming down onto a lower level, DDMA shall look into two weeks’ trend before accepting lower level of restrictions. When there is an upward trend in number of positive cases being identified daily and requiring a higher level of restrictions than the current one, DDMA however shall do so without waiting for two weeks’ trends.
5. DDMA shall take following special actions in addition to ensure ease of restrictions do not lead to spread of Covid 19:
- Push vaccination through public awareness activities; Attempt must be to achieve vaccination of 70% of eligible population at the earliest; encourage work place vaccinations especially of blue collar workers;
- Push Test-Track-Treat methodology to contain the spread,
- Enforce on establishments to ensure safe work spaces with proper air ventilation norms using neither hepa filters or proper exhaust fans due to airborne droplet nature of the virus,
- Carry out large number of tests and percentage of RT-PCR tests vis-a-vis other tests must be as expected by Public Health Department,
- Impose fines effectively on violators of Covid Appropriate Behaviour,
- Avoid events/functions/ activities that lead to crowding, congregations and gatherings,
- Declare containment zones judiciously so that restrictions are imposed on a smaller area, especially defaulting area,
- Make flying squads for enforcement of CAB, especially to check high incidence events like marriages and establishments like restaurants, malls etc. It must be appreciated that CAB compliance is a must for lowering restrictions that are nothing but social level desperate measures in case of failure of this compliance by individual citizens.