New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday issued a new set of guidelines to check the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus in peri-urban, rural and tribal areas of the country. The rules also suggests surveillance, screening, home and community based isolation and planning for health infrastructure for managing the COVID-19 infection at the rural level.

Taking to Twitter, the health ministry informed about the issuance of the SOPs for COVID-19 management in peri-urban, rural and tribal areas.

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).

The ministry also says that identified suspected COVID cases should link for testing to the health facilities either through rapid antigen testing or by referral of samples to nearest testing laboratory, in accordance with ICMR guidelines.

The guidelines states that COVID patients should also 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 report says.

Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on the COVID-19 situation and directed government officials to make a distribution plan for supply of oxygen to rural areas and scale up health infrastructure.

The second wave of COVID-19 has taken the rural areas in its grip. With reports suggesting that cases of infections in rural areas are much higher as most of the patients are not even reaching hospital due to various concerns.

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