Covid-19: Centre directs states to assign ‘unique identifier’ to contracted or suspected individuals

New Delhi:The Centre has directed states to assign a “unique identifier” to each person who has contracted or is suspected of having contracted Covid-19, as part of efforts to contain the spread of the disease.

Under the standard operating procedure (SOP) issued by the Centre, states have been asked to allot unique COV-COUN-ST-DIS-YR-Case numbers, where the first three characters signify the disease, the next three are for country code, followed by two for state code, three for district code, two for year of disease onset and the last four are the serial number of the case in that year in the same district.

For Covid-19 cases, there are broadly two categories specified by the health ministry. The first comprises ‘suspect’ cases, involving patients with acute respiratory illness and a history of travel or healthcare workers with acute respiratory illness who have come in contact with a confirmed case in the past 14 days.

The second category is that of ‘laboratory confirmed’ cases, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) suggested that states collect “socio demographic details of Covid-19 positive cases that include father’s name, address, contact details and identify high risk and low risk contacts of a patient”.

A high-risk contact, officials said, will cover any person living in the same household or who has touched body fluids of the confirmed case (respiratory tract secretions, blood, etc) or had direct physical contact with the body of the confirmed case, including physical examination without personal protection equipment (PPE), among others. Any high-risk contacts of a Covid-19 positive case will have to tested and quarantined, according to the guidelines.

Low-risk contacts have been defined as those who have shared the same space (same class for school, work) or travelled in the same environment (bus, train, flight or any mode of transit) but did not have a highrisk exposure. Once the suspected cases are traced, surveillance will be mounted on them to observe any symptoms of Covid-19, as per the directives.

All suspected Covid-19 cases notified as per the case definition should be investigated by a clinician or medical officer within 24 hours using the standardised case investigation form, according to the SOP.

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