Amid huge COVID spike, Centre asks states to set up makeshift hospitals

Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan told states to operationalise control rooms and revisit the COVID-dedicated health infrastructure. There should be a clear focus on rural areas and pediatric cases, he said

The Centre urged the states to set up makeshift hospitals similar to what was done in the ealier waves and monitor patients who are isolating at home. Pic: PTI

As the world witnesses the “highest-ever surge” in COVID-19 cases, the Centre on Saturday (January 1) has written to all the states and Union territories cautioning them to be vigilant and alert and add more beds in hospitals, ramp up healthcare facilities and check their oxygen availability. Also, the Centre urged the states to set up makeshift hospitals similar to what was done in the second wave and monitor patients who are isolating at home.

In his letter, the Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the world is currently reporting the highest-ever surge in COVID-19 cases in the context of the spread of the variant of concern Omicron. Hence, he wanted all states and UTs to operationalise control rooms and revisit the COVID-dedicated health infrastructure. There should be a clear focus on rural areas and pediatric cases, he wrote.

“In India, the case trajectory is also showcasing an upward trend with 16,764 cases reported on December 31, the highest ever single-day rise in the past 70 days. Many developed nations in Europe and the Americas are reporting a significant rise in new cases in the past few weeks, which indicates high transmissibility of the virus,” the secretary added, reported news websites.

Anxious that the health infrastructure may get affected with the sudden spike in cases, the Centre has asked all the states not just to create makeshift hospitals but to also make use of hotel accommodations for patients having mild to moderate symptoms like it was done during the earlier surges in some states.

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To monitor patients under home isolation, the states should constitute special teams, call centres and control rooms. The states should review the availability of required logistics, oxygen availability and buffer stocks of drugs.

Also read: New year sees COVID cases shoot 35%, Omicron cases at 1,431

This latest warning follows a series of letters the Centre has been writing to the states worried that the country is poised at the threshold of a third wave. On December 31, the Centre asked all states to test all fever, body ache cases for COVID and treat them for COVID, unless the test results prove otherwise.

On January 1, 2022, India saw 22,775 new COVID-19 cases and 406 deaths. Meanwhile, Delhi reported 2,716 fresh COVID cases today, 51 per cent higher than Friday’s tally. The positivity rate too went up to 3.64 per cent. While Mumbai recorded 6,347 fresh Covid cases (5,712 asymptomatic), 451 recoveries, and one death today.

The number of Omicron infections in the country stood at 1,431. Four cases of Omicron variant of coronavirus was confirmed in Uttarakhand, while Rajasthan reported 52 new cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus taking their total tally in the state to 121.

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