Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked states to consider the ‘Himachal Pradesh model’ to combat the novel coronavirus outbreak in the country, according to a report by The Economic Times.
Under the model, the state screened its entire population for influenza-like symptoms. People who did not improve after initial medication were put through a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, the report suggests.
According to the report, officials at the Centre asked states to consider a similar approach in their respective ‘red’ and ‘orange’ zones by conducting door-to-door screening or by encouraging self-declaration of such symptoms via the Aarogya Setu app.
The entire population of Himachal Pradesh, of around 70 lakh people, was reportedly screened for influenza-like symptoms under the exercise.
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Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The report quotes Himachal Pradesh’s Additional Chief Secretary (Health) RD Dhiman as saying that 16,000 officials have conducted the door-to-door exercise.
The official added that around 10,000 persons with influenza-like symptoms were identified and 1,500 of them were tested for COVID-19 after they did not improve through initial medication.
The state reportedly tested 700 people per 10 lakh population — considered one of the highest testing rates in the country.
As per the Union Health Ministry’s update on April 29, Himachal Pradesh has so far reported a total of 40 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Of these, 25 patients have recovered. There has been one death. The state has not recorded a fresh case in the last five days.Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the novel coronavirus pandemic