Jul 17, 2024

Nationwide Emergency mock drills from Tuesday – India’s Covid response begins

In view of an unprecedented spike in Covid-19 cases in China and some other countries, the Government of India has begun preparations to tackle the coronavirus threat by taking a slew of measures including emergency mock drills in hospitals from Tuesday and approval to Covid nasal vaccine. According to the Union Health Ministry, States and Union territories will undertake a mock drill across all health facilities from Tuesday to ensure the operational readiness of the Covid-dedicated facilities, with a specific focus on oxygen plants, ventilators, logistics and human resources, according to official sources.

The Union Health Ministry sources said that fresh guidelines are being prepared for Christmas and New Year revelry.

Among other measures, the Health Ministry sources said that Bharat Biotech’s intranasal Covid vaccine has been approved by the Centre for inclusion in the vaccination programme as a booster dose for those above 18 years of age. Those who have taken Covishield and Covaxin can take the nasal vaccine as a heterologous booster dose.

The needle-free vaccine will be available at private centres. It will be introduced on the Co-WIN platform on Friday evening, sources said. The nasal vaccine – BBV154 – received approval from the Drugs Controller General of India in November for restricted use in an emergency situation for those above 18 as a booster dose.

Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will today meet with health ministers of states and Union Territories over rising Covid cases in some parts of the world. The meeting will be held via video conferencing at 3 pm today.

The Centre has also issued guidelines for international arrivals, to come into force from tomorrow. All travellers should preferably be fully vaccinated as per the approved primary schedule of vaccination in their country, it said. Use of masks, and social distancing, will be required in flight and at entry and exit points of airports. Passengers with symptoms will be isolated and segregated from other passengers and shifted to an isolation facility for follow-up treatment.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday reviewed the Covid-19 situation and the country’s preparedness to tackle the deadly infection after four cases of the Omicron sub-variant driving a massive China surge were found in the country.

In view of the Covid spike in China, the Centre has already started random testing of visitors from abroad. Government sources said that the infrastructure for quarantine and testing is likely to be re-established in the next seven days.

Making a statement in Lok Sabha, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday said that the Centre is monitoring the global COVID situation and taking all necessary preventive measures to tackle the threat. He added that the states have been told to remain alert and create awareness about wearing face masks and using hand sanitisers, especially in view of upcoming festivals and new year celebrations.


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