COVID-19: Mock drills across India to test preparedness; more updates
Amid a COVID-19 surge in neighboring China, a mock drill is being conducted at hospitals/healthcare centers across all Indian states and union territories on Tuesday to check the operational preparedness for dealing with a potential COVID-19 wave. Meanwhile, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) and health experts urged Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to allow people to get their fourth vaccine or second booster shot.
Why does this story matter?
- The Indian government has been on high alert since China is reportedly experiencing a fresh wave of coronavirus cases after relaxing restrictions following widespread protests against the strict lockdown of over three months.
- The Centre has announced guidelines to be followed while states have brought back COVID-19 curbs to contain any unforeseen breakout. Moreover, some foreigners arriving in India tested COVID-19-positive, raising an alarm.
Mock drill to check availability of beds, trained professionals
Mandaviya reportedly visited Delhi's Safdarjung Hospital on Tuesday morning to oversee the ongoing mock drill. The nationwide exercise will give a fair picture of the availability of healthcare facilities, such as the capacity of isolation beds, oxygen-supported beds, intensive care unit (ICU) beds, and ventilator-supported beds. It will also help gauge the human resource capacity—the number of healthcare professionals trained in COVID-19 management.
Curbs return with New Year approaching
Several states reintroduced COVID-19 curbs in the wake of the approaching New Year's Day when people gather in large numbers. Karnataka brought back the mask mandate at public places and urged elders to avoid gatherings. It mandated two vaccine doses for bars, pubs, and restaurants.
China facing new situation: Jinping
On the other hand, Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the current COVID-19 situation for the first time since the cases spiraled out of control. He said, "COVID-19 prevention and control in China are facing a new situation and new tasks." He talked about launching a health campaign in a targeted way and fortifying a line of defense for preventing and controlling the epidemic.
China to start distributing Pfizer's Paxlovid to health centers
Beijing will also reportedly start distributing Pfizer's COVID-19 drug Paxlovid to community health centers in the coming days. It is the only foreign medicine for treating COVID-19 approved by the Chinese government, but accessing the drug is a challenging process. Meanwhile, China's Zhejiang province, which is a manufacturing hub, is witnessing around a million new COVID-19 cases every day, as per Nikkei Asia.