The decision to carry out a drill comes a day after the PM’s review meeting on the Covid situation in which he advised states to audit Covid-specific facilities to ensure operational readiness of hospital infrastructure, including oxygen cylinders, oxygen generation plants, ventilators and human resources.
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya held a meeting of health ministers of all the states and advised them to be on alert and keep all preparedness for Covid-19 management. The issue of drill was also discussed in the meeting and, ministry sources said, all states assured the minister that they will carry out the exercise.
In this drill, doctors and nurses posted in the outpatients facilities will conduct physical examination of patients with respiratory symptoms wearing PPE. The emergency and ICU facilities will work with full strength. An assessment will be carried out to assess the operational readiness of PPE, oxygen supply, monitors, defibrillators and ventilators. “If there is any shortcoming, it will be corrected so that we aren’t caught off-guard in case of a crisis situation,” officials said.
Covid cases in India are at an all-time low. However, officials said, operational readiness of healthcare infrastructure is being assessed as several countries, especially China, are witnessing a continuous surge in Covid-19 cases.
Immunologists maintain Omicron and its sub-variants, that have been detected in India before, are driving the surge in cases in several countries. “There is no new variant of concern that has been identified recently. However, we cannot be complacent. All states have been advised to enhance surveillance in hospitals and communities to identify new clusters or influenza like illnesses, if any. They have also been asked to ramp up testing and encourage precautionary dose uptake. At present, only 27% of the country’s adult population has received booster doses,” said a health ministry official.