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Friday, January 27, 2023

India announces nationwide Covid drill

Hospitals were told to check their readiness for potential surge in infections

Top health officials have held a series of meetings this week to assess how the current global situation with the Covid-19 virus pandemic could evolve and affect India, and ensure that the country’s entire healthcare system is fully prepared to respond to a possible surge in cases during the holiday season.

At a meeting on Friday, chaired by Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, state health officials “assured” the central government in New Delhi that “they will hold mock drill for readiness of hospital infrastructure” on December 27, according to a press release from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It remains unclear what exactly those exercises would involve, but the State Health Ministers were told to “personally monitor and review the preparedness of all infrastructure and ensure there is adequate stock of essential medicines.”

“There is no need to panic. We have 3 years of experience in pandemic management,” Dr Mandaviya tweeted after the meeting, reassuring citizens that the central government would “take action” if needed and provide the states with “all the support to combat Covid-19.” 

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While India has seen a steady decline in daily cases in recent months, according to the government data, New Delhi is concerned about the outbreaks in other countries, and the possibility of the situation worsening during the holiday season.

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Covid spike in China infected 37 million in one day – Bloomberg

“Covid is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance,” the minister said earlier this week, as he announced that India would begin randomly testing around 2 percent of international travelers arriving at the country’s airports.

The decision to conduct a nationwide “mock drill” comes a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted another top-level meeting to assess the overall Covid-19 situation and status of the vaccination campaign, as well as preparedness of the country’s health infrastructure and logistics for a possible emergence of new Covid-19 variants.

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India’s neighbor China is currently experiencing a surge in Covid-19 infections after the authorities abruptly lifted strict restrictions aimed at stopping the spread of the virus earlier in December.

China – where infections had been reduced to almost zero earlier this year – reported 3,761 new cases of the disease but no deaths on Thursday, putting the total number of infections this week at 14,285, with seven fatalities.


READ MORE: China’s largest city tells schools to hold classes online

However, reports suggest that the actual situation is much worse than the official figures suggest. Bloomberg claimed that internal papers from China’s National Health Commission, seen by its journalists, spoke of up to 248 million people, or nearly 18% of the country’s population, being infected with Covid over the past few weeks. Experts cited by AP forecast between one and two million deaths related to the virus in the country in 2023.

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December 24, 2022 at 11:36AM
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