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Take urgent steps to tackle flu: Centre to states

August 11, 2009 12:21 IST

Amid rise in swine flu deaths, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad has asked Chief Ministers to take urgent measures to tackle spread of the dreaded virus in the country.

A top Health Ministry official today said Azad spoke to 22 Chief Ministers on Monday night, impressing upon them the need to take measures to tackle the spread of the pandemic.

He is understood to have informed them about the steps taken by the Central government to tackle swine flu and the guidelines formed for allowing private labs and hospitals to conduct tests and treat suspected cases.

Azad held meetings with senior officials of the Ministry this morning to take stock of the situation, the official said.

He will hold a meeting with around 35 Additional and Joint Secretaries in various central ministries before they proceed to state capitals for stepping up their efforts to contain further spread of the disease.

The move comes two days after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked Azad to augment the response mechanism in the wake of the rapid spread of swine flu, which has claimed eight lives so far.

Azad has announced a slew of measures like allowing private labs and hospitals to conduct tests and treat suspected cases, stockpiling another two crore tablets of Tamiflu and installing thermal scanners at all international airports to screen passengers.

On the decision to rush senior officials to states, he has said, "As of now, we have been corresponding with the states only through letters, but it now seems that this is not enough, so we have decided to send them to various states."

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