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Updated December 25th, 2023 at 12:01 IST

Delhi govt plans to step up genome surveillance with new Covid sub-variant JN.1 on radar

Covid cases registered a rise in the country towards the end of 2023 with sub-variant JN.1 on the radar.

Press Trust Of India
COVID-19 cases surge in India
COVID-19 cases surge in India | Image:File
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New Delhi: Covid cases registered a rise in the country towards the end of 2023 with sub-variant JN.1 on the radar while the Delhi government planned to step up genome surveillance to tackle the issue going forward.

As the new threat looms on the horizon with an uptick in Covid cases amid the festive season, doctors in Delhi have advised people to wear masks, avoid gatherings and maintain a healthy diet.

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The devastating third wave of the Covid pandemic driven by the Omicron variant had resulted in a record surge of infections in Delhi in early 2022, and the second one driven by the Delta variant had wreaked havoc in the national capital, as at other places, in 2021.

The fresh threat, as there was one early 2023, has only proven many experts right that "Covid is not out of the world yet".

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Both the Centre and the Delhi government are alert and have planned a way forward to tackle any situation.

Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on December 20 told PTI that oxygen cylinders, ventilator beds and other requirements were being "reviewed again".

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He also said the Covid sub-variant JN.1 is infectious but "mild", and asserted that the city government was "totally alert" to tackle the issue.

Delhi health department officials said the city government will ramp up genome surveillance.

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As authorities lifted the mask mandate in the year gone by given the improved situation, the growing concern over the new variant has brought it back on the faces of many people in Delhi.

As the year comes to an end, Christmas and New Year celebrations will see huge gatherings in public places.

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While a majority of the city population, seemingly had slowly learned to live without putting on a mask in closed spaces and public places, the new year will likely see a larger number of people wearing a mask as a precaution.

In crowded metro coaches, several commuters can now be seen wearing a mask or using hand sanitiser, to keep infection at bay.

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Bharadwaj recently also said that people should not panic.

"Be alert by being cautious and you can check the spread of the infection," the minister had said.

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The year gone by also saw a flurry of surprise inspections of multiple city government-run hospitals by the Delhi health minister.

Bharadwaj on December 21 inspected two hospitals and said no "VIP treatment" would be provided to anyone.

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He conducted surprise inspections at Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital and Dr Hedgewar Aarogya Sansthan in east Delhi.

During his inspection at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, Bharadwaj said he received "complaints from some patients" alleging that hospital staff, in the name of specific personnel, were "bypassing the queue" in seeking consultation with doctors.

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This practice causes inconvenience to those waiting in line.

In response, the health minister had promptly directed the hospital administration that "no VIP treatment would be provided to anyone, in the name of hospital staff".

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Bharadwaj on December 14 had conducted a surprise inspection at four city government-run hospitals, and at one of the facilities reprimanded the administration for negligence in cleanliness and directed strict action against the officials responsible.

These four hospitals were -- Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, Dada Dev Hospital, Indira Gandhi Hospital, and Sushruta Trauma Centre.

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Additionally, he had issued “stern orders for stringent action” against the company responsible for hospital cleanliness, according to the minister's office.

A day earlier he had inspected four hospitals, including Guru Gobind Singh Hospital, Acharya Bhikshu Hospital, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Hospital, and N C Joshi Hospital.

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Bharadwaj had sought a probe against a staffer of the N C Joshi Hospital following allegations that he took bribes for facilitating treatment at the facility. 

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Published December 25th, 2023 at 12:01 IST

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