Nationwide COVID-19 preparedness mock drill at hospitals today, tomorrow
Amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases in India, the Centre has ordered a mock drill in private and public hospitals on Monday and Tuesday to test the preparedness of health facilities in the event of a further surge in infections. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will visit the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Haryana's Jhajjar to oversee the mock drill.
Why does this story matter?
The number of COVID-19 infections in India has risen alarmingly in the last few weeks. As many as 5,357 new COVID-19 cases were reported across the country on Sunday. Moreover, the surge in coronavirus infections coincides with an increase in H3N2 influenza cases in the country, prompting the Union Health Ministry to issue an advisory to states and union territories earlier.
Mask mandate in Haryana, Puducherry, Kerala
Face masks in public places have been made mandatory in Haryana and Puducherry, along with schools in the former. Kerala has mandated masks for pregnant women, the elderly, and people with comorbidities. Uttar Pradesh has also ordered the screening of international passengers at all airports.
Identify emergency hotspots for flu, COVID-19: Mandaviya
In a high-level review meeting on Friday, Mandaviya directed the health officials of all states and union territories to stay alert and analyze their ability to tackle the jump in the number of infections. He highlighted the need to identify emergency hotspots by checking influenza-like illnesses (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI). The positivity rate for coronavirus cases remained above 3% on Sunday.
Increase testing, genome sequencing: Health minister to states, UTs
The Union health minister also emphasized ramping up testing and genome sequencing for early detection, as well as vaccination. He said that despite the emergence of new variants, the five-point strategy of "test-track-treat-vaccinate and COVID-19-appropriate behavior" remains effective for the management of COVID-19 cases. In view of the possibility of a fourth wave of the pandemic, Mandaviya said that India needs to be alert.
'Sub-variants not too dangerous in ministry's experience'
Mandaviya added that the last mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, was Omicron sub-variant BF.7, while the current surge of infections is caused by XBB 1.16 sub-variant. He did, however, assure that, in the ministry's experience, sub-variants were not particularly dangerous. The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently tracking XBB 1.15 and monitoring BQ.1, BA2.75, CH1.1, XBB, XBF, and XBB 1.16.
So far, vaccines worked on all variants in lab: Mandaviya
In a previous meeting, Mandaviya stated that when a variant is detected, it is identified and isolated in the lab. The efficacy of vaccines is studied by testing them on these new variants. So far, the vaccines have worked against all identified variants, he added.Share this timeline