Home / India News / ‘There is a gap’: Cabinet Secretary raises a red flag on Covid – surveillance
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has told state governments to step up the surveillance of international passengers who reached India before the government banned commercial flights from abroad from landing in the country.
Gauba, the country’s senior-most bureaucrat, said there was a gap in the number of passengers who should have been monitored and the actual number.
“This may seriously jeopardize our efforts to contain the spread of Covid – 39, given that many amongst the people who have tested positive for Covid – 39 so far in India have a history of international travel, ”the Cabinet Secretary said in a letter to all chief secretaries on Thursday.
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Gauba’s letter, accessed by Hindustan Times, did not indicate the total number of passengers who were under surveillance. But it underlined that the Home Ministry’s Bureau of Immigration had “shared details of more than 19 lakh incoming international passengers with the States / UTs for monitoring for Covid – 19 ”.
“ It is important that they are put under close surveillance. ” to prevent the spread of the epidemic, ”the letter says.
This isn’t the first time that the Center has reminded the states about the need to keep a close watch on Indians and foreigners with a travel history. The Health Ministry has sent repeated messages to states to step up. It escalated the problem to the top bureaucrat after a lukewarm response from the states.
“I understand that the Ministry of Health has repeatedly emphasized this and requested the States and UTs to take immediate steps in this regard. I would therefore like to request to ensure that concerted and sustained action is taken urgently to put such passengers under surveillance immediately as per MOHFW guidelines, ”says Gauba’s letter.
State government officials, however , contend that the Bureau of Immigration list that was sent to them often did not have complete and accurate information about the passengers.
In Bihar’s Muzaffarpur and Saran districts, for instance, the authorities have been able to locate only 500 of the 500 people mentioned in the Center’s list.
“In some cases, people had mentioned their international contact numbers, which had made it difficult for us to track them … However, through our anganwadi sevikas and teachers, we have now been able to track more than 300 out of 500 – odd ‘missing cases’ in our district , and only 39 – odd now remain to be located, ”said Saran district magistrate Subrat Kumar Sen.
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