Image: Nationwide COVID-19 mock drill underway (PTI)
Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases, mock drills to take stock of hospital preparedness are being held in several public and private facilities across the country on Monday.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya visited the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in the city to review the mock drill there.
India logged 5,880 new coronavirus cases, while the active cases have increased to 35,199. The death toll has increased to 5,30,979 with 14 deaths, according to the health ministry data updated on Monday.
In a review meeting held on April 7, Mandaviya had urged state health ministers to visit hospitals and oversee the mock drills on April 10 and 11.
In the meeting with state health ministers, and principal and additional chief secretaries held virtually, Mandaviya had stressed the need to identify emergency hotspots by monitoring trends of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) cases, ramping up testing and vaccination, and ensuring readiness of hospital infrastructure.
Besides enhancing genome sequencing and ramping up whole genome sequencing of positive samples, he had laid stress on creating awareness about following Covid-appropriate behaviour.
During the meeting, states and union territories were informed that currently the World Health Organisation (WHO) is closely tracking a variant of interest (VOI), XBB.1.5, and six other variants (BQ.1, BA.2.75, CH.1.1, XBB, XBF and XBB.1.16).
It was highlighted that while Omicron and its sub-lineages continue to be the predominant variants, most of the assigned variants have little or no significant transmissibility, disease severity or immune escape.
The prevalence of XBB.1.16 increased from 21.6 per cent in February to 35.8 per cent in March. However, no evidence of an increase in hospitalisation or mortality has been reported, the ministry had said in a statement.
During the meeting, it was observed that 23 states and union territories have testing rates that are lower than the current national average of 100 tests per million people.
Mandaviya had said that irrespective of the new variants, the five-fold strategy of "Test-Track-Treat-Vaccinate and adherence to Covid-Appropriate Behaviour" continues to remain the tested strategy for Covid management.
States and union territories were also requested to expeditiously increase the rate of testing and increase the share of RT-PCR in tests.
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