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Plan on cards to keep tabs on migrants going home

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is working on a new protocol for surveillance of migrants who moved home from cities to ensure that the infection doesn’t spread in a new wave in villages.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: May 29, 2020, 07.43 AM IST
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New Delhi: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is working on a new protocol for surveillance of migrants who moved home from cities to ensure that the infection doesn’t spread in a new wave in villages. “The ICMR is working on a new protocol for the returnees/migrants. The strategy needs to focus on the surveillance, tracing and testing,” said a senior government official.

While the number of cases have risen exponentially over the last 10-12 days, quarantine centres appear to have become the new worry. “The stricter quarantine protocol is not an ultimate answer to contain the spread of the infection, hence there is a need to come out with certain directions to help states contain the infection,” added the official.

The ICMR is considering the “Elisa test” for antibody detection in migrants. So far, due to the inter-district movement, 35 lakh migrants have travelled through trains and over 40 lakh by buses. "There is a need for broad guidelines to be sent out to states that are seeing an upsurge in cases due to the influx of migrants returning to their native villages,” added the official. Earlier, an health ministry advisory said those above 60 years or have co-morbidities would be shifted to a quarantine facility.

"Wherever a congregation of migrant workers has formed in bus stations/railway stations or any other place within the city of their local residence, the names, local residential and permanent addresses and mobile numbers of the migrant workers shall be recorded," the advisory said. District health administration will depute a team which would include district surveillance officer/his representative and public health personnel.

It also makes thermal screening mandatory of all the migrants. “All such persons qualifying these criteria shall be referred to designated Covid-19 treatment hospital for isolation and testing,” it said. "Movement of migrant labour and international evacuations have added to numbers. States which have seen a lot of inter-district movement and movement of trains are the ones where the upsurge of numbers is seen," added the official.
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