Jammu, Oct 11: The Cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba, today chaired a high level meeting to take stock of public health response to the COVID- 19 pandemic during the ongoing season of festivities. The Union Home Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, officers from Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and NITI AYOG were present in the meeting. The Chief Secretary, J&K, B V R Subrahmanyam along with Chief Secretaries of various States and Union Territories including Karnataka, Kerela, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Chattisgarh, Manipur, and Delhi participated in the meeting. The Cabinet Secretary asked all the States and Union Territories to dedicatedly work on the testing and early hospitalization of COVID patients, besides, undertaking a robust containment/red zone surveillance strategy to ensure that the case fatality in each State/UT remains below 1%. While reviewing the public health response to COVID-19, the Cabinet Secretary informed that currently 8 States/ UTs are having approximately 62% active cases with subsequent 61% COVID related deaths. He laid emphasis on the need to proactively identify the critical cases and provide prompt medical intervention to check this trend. The Cabinet Secretary reiterated the need of effective containment strategy and adequate testing facilities for early detection of COVID cases so as to minimise its spread in the community. “This can be further reinforced by perimeter control, active house to house surveillance, contact tracing and timely testing”, he added. Speaking on the measures to be undertaken to lower ‘Case Fertility Rate’ below 1%, Cabinet Secretary emphasised on tracing and testing all close contacts of new positive cases with 72 hours of detection, in addition to regularly monitoring the patients under home isolation through tele-calling and home visits. He maintained that RTPCR testing capacities must be ramped up which can augmented with Rapid Antigen Tests in containment zones and healthcare institutions. Moreover, for efficient containment efforts- aggressive surveillance, contact tracing, and early identification of emerging COVID hotspots; use of Arogya Setu App and Itihas data was endorsed. Further, efforts of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to augment the medical infrastructure including isolation beds with oxygen support, ICU beds, ventilators and oxygen production/ supply capacity were applauded by the Cabinet Secretary. The Chief Secretary, J&K, informed that to maintain low fatality rate, strategic efforts are in place for timely hospitalisation of vulnerable patients especially children, old aged and patients with co-morbidity. He said that COVID trajectory is being closely monitored with special focus on spread of infection through travellers, primary and secondary contacts, especially after resumption of religious pilgrimage. “J&K is still conducting universal testing of all visitors travelling by air, road and railways”, he added. Regarding the targeted testing in vulnerable clusters, the Chief Secretary informed that the Government has recently launched a ‘sweeping’ strategy, wherein universal testing is carried out to identify patients and the process is repeated regularly to sweep clean the area.