FICCI suggests RT-PCR testing and ‘Sanitise-Mask-Social’ distancing

The experts opined that the society will now need to learn to live with Corona as a ‘New Normal’

FICCI, Sangita Reddy, COVID-19 RT-PCR testing, Roundtable, Epidemiologists, Public health

RT-PCR should be performed for all symptomatic patients to control the spread, pointed out The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) during its roundtable to deliberate on the future containment strategy for COVID-19. The roundtable was attended by leading epidemiologists, public health experts and members from the healthcare industry.

It was also suggested that all localities (RWAs, high rise societies, sectors and colonies) should create their own isolation areas/ rooms with good ventilation, and make available a few beds with SpO2 monitors. Healthcare workers can monitor patients in these ‘community COVID facilities’ and protocols can be developed regarding treatment and transfer to the higher care center.

The experts opined that the society will now need to learn to live with Corona as a ‘New Normal’, just like we have been doing for Measles or TB. Herd immunity will automatically come into the system in a natural way, as it does for any disease, but it should not be the target. This virus is highly immunogenic and a vaccine will indeed benefit the society, but till then individuals need to protect themselves through SMS (S=sanitise, M=mask & S=social distancing), to tackle the spread, the roundtable emphasised.

The experts shared their experiences and successful strategies for COVID containment as well as challenges from the States of Kerala, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Delhi. While ample investments in public health systems over the past few years, including primary care, have helped States like Kerala and Karnataka to keep their number on infections low; proactive government, testing of all symptomatic individuals have helped in controlled transmission.

“We also need to ensure and advocate for reverse quarantine as well as protect our elderly who are the most vulnerable. It is also important that we guard our population from any stigma or discrimination. The experts felt that this pandemic has given us the opportunity to reinvent our public health system and going further our leadership should work through- ‘Anticipate, Coordinate and Act’ approach,” it states.

Dr Sangita Reddy, President, FICCI, while appreciating the views and contributions of all the experts said, “Going forward, we need extensive testing including antibody testing for workplaces, containment of the virus at primary level and increased focus on public health.”

She also shared, “This is a time when each one of us- government, private industry as well as every individual- should work towards creating synergies and jointly fight this war against COVID-19’.