Government Issues Alert on New COVID Variant: Mandatory Masks in Many States, Foreign Arrivals Face History Check; Hospitals to Conduct Mock Drills Every 3 Months

The central Health Minister, Mansukh Mandaviya, chaired a high-level review meeting with health ministers and officials from states and union territories to discuss preparedness for respiratory diseases like Influenza and COVID-19. The meeting addressed the readiness of health facilities and services, emphasizing the importance of vigilance during the upcoming holidays and the need for certain protocols. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified a new variant, emphasizing the importance of caution even though the severity might be low.

Collaboration is Key: Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya Stresses Working Together

During the COVID-19 review meeting, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya emphasized the necessity of collaboration at all levels. He highlighted the importance of coordination between the central and state governments, ensuring a united effort against the pandemic. While urging people to remain vigilant, he emphasized that there is no need to panic, and collective action is crucial.

Hospitals’ Preparedness and Drills: Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya’s Insights

Dr. Mandaviya stressed the significance of hospital preparedness, increased surveillance, and conducting mock drills for effective communication with the public. He recommended that all hospitals should conduct mock drills at least once every three months to ensure readiness. Assuring support from the central government to the states, he emphasized the non-political nature of health governance.

Inclusive Meeting with State Health Ministers and Officials

The meeting witnessed active participation from health ministers and officials of all states and union territories. Discussions covered various aspects, including healthcare facilities, infrastructure enhancement, and measures to prevent the spread of infections. Notable attendees included Dr. Rajiv Bahl, Director of ICMR, Dr. VK Paul from NITI Aayog, and Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, former Director-General of ICMR.

No Need to Panic, but Stay Alert: Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya

Dr. Mandaviya reassured that while the new variant may not be severe, individuals should exercise caution and remain vigilant. As of the latest update, India reported 288 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, with an active case count of 1,970. The health ministry’s website indicates that the country has administered 220.67 crore doses of the COVID vaccine, with a recovery rate of 98.81%.

Two COVID Cases Reported in Gandhinagar, Gujarat

Gujarat reported two new COVID cases, as two individuals who recently traveled from South India to Gandhinagar displayed symptoms. Both individuals are currently under home quarantine. With the Vibrant Gujarat event scheduled in January, preparations for tackling COVID and other respiratory infections are underway, and a discussion on these matters is expected in the upcoming meeting.

Mask-Wearing Essential in Many States

As COVID cases rise, doctors in Delhi have advised residents to wear masks for safety. In Delhi, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, doctors have recommended mask-wearing and advised against traveling to crowded places. Suggestions also include avoiding gatherings during Christmas and New Year celebrations to prevent the spread of infections.

Overseas Travelers’ History to be Scrutinized

Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya will hold a video conference with health ministers and officials from all states to discuss preparedness, with a focus on ventilators, medicines, vaccines, and oxygen supply. Scrutiny of the COVID history of overseas travelers is emphasized, with a detailed plan expected to be discussed in the meeting, placing significant importance on this preparation for the future.

Niyati Rao

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