Delhi authorities visited state-run hospitals to ascertain their preparedness to face any outcome in dealing with Covid as reports of a surge in cases emerge in several countries, officials said on Monday.
A mock drill will be conducted on Tuesday (December 27) in government hospitals in accordance with the Centre's directions regarding Covid protocols. Real-time data related to the availability of beds, oxygen cylinders and ventilators will be available for the public on a Delhi government portal after the mock drill.
"We have started physically visiting all government hospitals. An inventory of beds, liquid medical oxygen, ventilators and other equipment is being prepared. It will be ready by Monday evening," East Delhi District Magistrate Anil Banka said.
Meanwhile, Delhi Health Secretary Amit Singla had on Sunday chaired a meeting with all district magistrates and directed them to visit all hospitals and prepare an inventory of beds and equipment available. An official said testing was also likely to be ramped up soon. At present, around 2,500 to 3,000 tests are being conducted daily in the city.
Meetings are being held with residents' welfare organisations and non-government organisations, which are being asked to create awareness about the emerging situation.
Last week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said the new Omicron sub-variant BF.7 of the coronavirus, which is causing a surge in cases in some countries, had not been detected in Delhi so far and that his government was fully geared to tackle any eventuality. Instructions have been issued to send samples from all positive cases for genome sequencing, 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 the machines in all hospitals. The chief minister had asserted that they were self-sufficient in terms of oxygen availability and storage. During the second Covid wave last year, Delhi had grappled with oxygen shortage with hospitals sending out SOS messages over depleting supplies on social media.
However, experts say the BF.7 sub-strain 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 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 Community Medicine 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. 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.
(With inputs from PTI)
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