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Covid action plan: test, track and treat; ensure hospitals are ready

In a meeting held Monday to discuss interventions and actions to be taken in view of the Omicron variant being detected in several countries, chaired by L-G Anil Baijal, it was decided to stick to the test, track, treat strategy earnestly, and to follow-up with international passengers who have to be placed under home isolation.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
November 30, 2021 1:55:35 am
The Delhi health department has also designated Lok Nayak Hospital as the dedicated facility to treat patients testing positive for the new Covid variant.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority has asked the state health department to make sure there are enough hospital beds, medicines, and medical oxygen in the city to battle a possible spike in Covid cases.

In a meeting held Monday to discuss interventions and actions to be taken in view of the Omicron variant being detected in several countries, chaired by L-G Anil Baijal, it was decided to stick to the test, track, treat strategy earnestly, and to follow-up with international passengers who have to be placed under home isolation.

The Delhi health department has also designated Lok Nayak Hospital as the dedicated facility to treat patients testing positive for the new Covid variant. The hospital has been asked to earmark wards for isolating and treating such patients.

At present, Delhi has 8,968 hospital beds reserved for Covid patients. Of these, 128 are occupied. It has another 3,871 beds in Covid care facilities and 140 in Covid health care institutions. Out of these, only one bed is occupied in a Covid care facility. Out of the 285 active cases in the city, 122 are under home isolation.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, health minister Satyendar Jain, revenue minister Kailash Gahlot, NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul, Dr SK Singh from NCDC, Dr Randeep Guleria from AIIMS, Dr S Panda from ICMR were among those who attended the meeting.

“The new variant was discussed during the meeting. There is uncertainty across the globe about its impact. In the meeting, scientists discussed the information we have about the variant at present… We are on alert in any case. The plan created during the deadly second wave will be brought into action if cases increase. Our facilities at Ramlila Maidan and Dilshad Garden can be operationalised, if need be,” Sisodia said.

In the meeting, sources said, the spike in cases in countries where the variant has been detected so far was discussed. “Preliminary evidence” that the variant poses an “increased risk” of reinfection was also discussed.

“Cases have been rising across several western countries. These trends were also discussed. The protocol for international passengers who enter India, especially from countries where the variant has been detected, will be the same as that issued by the Centre. Tracking, testing, and isolating becomes very important in this case. The Delhi government wanted the Centre to ban incoming flights from countries at risk but there seems to be no decision on that yet,” said an official who did not want to be named.

All passengers who come from high-risk countries will have to undergo RT-PCR tests at the airport. The samples of those who test positive will be sent for genome sequencing.

Experts, meanwhile, said the speed of vaccination needed to be increased to make sure as many people as possible have got at least one dose within the coming few weeks. At present, 1.37 crore people have got at least one shot. Of these, 87 lakh have got both shots. The total population that is eligible for a vaccine is an estimated 1.5 crore. However, many people from NCR towns also got vaccinated in the city. On Sunday, over 28,000 people got vaccine shots.

(with PTI inputs)

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