Given a surge in COVID-19 cases in some countries, officials will physically visit all government hospitals in Delhi and ascertain their preparedness to deal with any eventuality, authorities said on Sunday. In pursuance of the central government’s directions, a mock drill will be conducted across all city government hospitals on Tuesday.

Delhi Health Secretary Amit Singla chaired a meeting with all district magistrates on Sunday morning and directed them to visit all hospitals and prepare an inventory of beds and equipment available there, a district official said.

“From Monday onwards, we are going to physically assess the situation at the government hospitals about the availability of beds, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, etc. These details will be available on a Delhi government portal for public viewing from Tuesday,” another official said.

The Delhi government’s coronavirus dashboard was last updated on December 12. “Real-time data will be available on the portal from Tuesday,” the official quoted above said.

An official from the northeast district said testing is likely to be ramped up soon. At present around 2,500 to 3,000 tests are being conducted in the entire city. “Meetings are being held with resident welfare organisations and non-government organisations. They are being asked to create awareness about the emerging situation. “We are likely to launch a door-to-door drive to provide booster doses to vulnerable populations,” the official said.

A northwest district official said they are asking everyone to follow Covid-appropriate behavior — maintaining at least two-feet distance, using masks, avoiding crowded places, etc. A southeast Delhi district official said the situation doesn’t seem alarming right now, but “we are completely prepared”.

“We are also going to collate bed availability data at private hospitals which had played a key role in handling the situation during previous Covid waves,” he said.

On Thursday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the new Omicron sub-variant BF.7 of the coronavirus that is causing a surge in cases in some countries has not been detected in Delhi so far and that his government is fully geared up to tackle any eventuality.

Instructions have been issued to send all positive cases for genome sequencing, and increase precaution dose coverage and manpower in hospitals. Kejriwal had also directed officials to take prior approval for procurement of essential items needed and inspect machines in all hospitals. The chief minister had asserted that they are self-sufficient in terms of oxygen availability and storage.

During the second Covid wave last year, Delhi grappled with oxygen shortage with hospitals sending out SOS messages over depleting supplies over social media.

However, experts say BF.7 should not worry India too much as a lot of people have developed immunity against the virus, either through vaccination or previous infection, unlike China where people have low immunity against Covid due to tough restrictions.

“The government is proactive and its directions are scientific. One should be cautious considering the spurt in cases in several countries but any new variant of Omicron is unlikely to cause any big trouble in India,” Dr. Jugal Kishore, the head of the community medicine department at Safdarjung Hospital, said.

India saw a massive third wave earlier this year and it, in a way, worked as a booster dose for a large number of people, the senior doctor said.

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Delhi has recorded 20,07,143 Covid cases and 26,521 deaths since the pandemic started in early 2020. The number of daily cases has remained below 20 and the positivity rate below 1 percent since mid-November.

The Centre had Saturday asked states to conduct a mock drill on December 27 to ensure the readiness of health facilities including medical oxygen generation plants.

From Saturday, random coronavirus testing of international passengers started at airports including those in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Indore, and Goa under new guidelines that require testing of two per cent of the passengers arriving in each international flight.

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With the ordeal faced by the country during the second COVID-19 wave in April 2021 still fresh in the minds, the Centre also told states and union territories that oxygen control rooms should be reinvigorated for prompt resolutions of oxygen-related issues and challenges.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya Saturday said RT-PCR test would be made mandatory for passengers from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Thailand and that passengers arriving in India from these countries will be quarantined if found COVID-19 positive or with fever. 

(This report has been published as part of the auto-generated syndicate wire feed. Apart from the headline, no editing has been done in the copy by ABP Live.)



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