Countrywide drills, booster doses, masks- India's renewed Covid fight: Top 10
India has not witnessed a worrying surge in Covid cases like a few other nations but authorities are alert.
India has renewed its fight against coronavirus even as the daily tally remains below the 300-mark at a time when many other countries are witnessing a worrying spike in caseload, especially China. Millions have been affected in the fresh wave of Covid in China, which has been labelled as the world's worst outbreak. While peak is expected in January, the country's health infrastructure yet again seems to have collapsed under the pressure of the cases. In India, to avoid repetition of the tragedies witnessed during the second Covid wave, authorities have swung into action since last week to check preparedness.
Here are ten points on the Covid situation:
1) Countrywide mock drills are set to take place on Tuesday at hospitals and health institutions in one of the many steps to check preparedness. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had announced these drills last week.
2) The Union Health Minister also held a meeting with members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) where he was urged to allow people to take second booster dose, HT reported. It may be, however, noted that a large number of people in the country are yet to take booster doses despite it being cleared by government months ago, as per the official data.
3) At the meeting - held via a video conference - the Union Minister also urged experts and IMA representatives to prevent an "infodemic" as he referred to misinformation that is spread on coronavirus.
4) Across the country, states have been taking various measures at their level too. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Monday held a meeting with directors and medical superintendents of all government hospitals where he called for ramping up of facilities.
5) “The global surge in Covid cases is a matter of concern for everyone. Hospitals need to prepare themselves well in advance," a Delhi government statement quoted him as saying, as per an HT report. "They have been directed to share details of beds, ventilators, facilities in the ICU (intensive care unit), number of doctors and nurses, oxygen plants, field staff and permitted medicines with the health department by this evening."
6) Further, in an unusual move, teachers of Delhi government schools will be deployed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) between December 31 and January 15 to ensure that passengers follow Covid protocol. Concerns have been raised in the recent past over the massive crowd at the Delhi airport.
7) The Karnataka government too held a high-level meeting on Monday over the preparedness for New Year's events. All New Year's events should also end by 1 am and wearing masks would be mandatory.
8) “Masks have been made mandatory inside movie theatres, schools and colleges. Masks will be mandatory to celebrate the New Year in pubs, restaurants and bars. New Year celebrations must end by 1am. There is no need to panic, we just have to take precautions,” Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar told reporters. Earlier in the day, he had said that 12 international passengers tested positive for Covid in December at Bengaluru airport and their samples have been sent for genome sequencing.
9) Screening has been stepped up at airports since last week and RT-PCR tests are now mandatory for those arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand. On Monday, authorities said that seven foreign nationals from Myanmar and Thailand on Monday tested positive for Covid-19 in Bihar’s Gaya, taking the case tally in the district to 12 in the last three days. The samples have been sent for genome sequencing.
10) BF.7 - subvariant of Omicron - is said to be behind the current explosive spike in China cases. India has so far recorded four cases of the variant.