As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in India, the Union Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, is overseeing nationwide mock drills today and tomorrow to assess the emergency preparedness of both public and private hospitals. The drills will take place at the All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in Haryana’s Jhajjar. In a review meeting last week, the Health Minister urged state health ministers to remain vigilant and ensure health facilities are prepared for any emergencies that may arise. He reiterated the importance of the five-fold strategy of ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and adherence to Covid-Appropriate Behaviour’ for Covid management.
ICU beds, oxygen supply, and other critical care arrangements are in place, according to the Health Minister in an exclusive interview with NDTV, and there is a weekly review of preparedness. The government is prepared to deal with the recent surge in infections, he added.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister, Ma Subramanian, inspected a mock drill for emergency response for handling COVID-19 at Rajiv Gandhi General Hospital in Chennai. A nationwide COVID-19 preparedness drill in hospitals is being conducted today.
With regards to the possible fourth wave of the pandemic, the Health Minister stressed the need for vigilance. The BF.7 sub-variant of Omicron was the last Covid mutation, and now the XBB1.16 sub-variant is causing the surge in infections, he said. However, in the ministry’s experience, sub-variants are not too dangerous.
As most parts of the country witness a rise in Covid-19 cases, several states have reintroduced mask mandates. Haryana and Puducherry have made wearing face masks mandatory in public places, including schools. Kerala has mandated masks for pregnant women, the elderly, and those with lifestyle diseases. Uttar Pradesh has issued a ‘high-priority’ directive, instructing officials to ensure the screening of international passengers at all airports. Delhi, Maharashtra, and Himachal Pradesh have also urged citizens to adhere to Covid appropriate behavior.