Covid News Updates: Random Tests Begin at All Airports; Mock Drill Across Hospitals in States, UTs Tomorrow – News18

By: News Desk
News18.com
Last Updated: December 26, 2022, 23:05 IST
New Delhi, India
Covid News Updates: Amid a steep rise of Covid cases in China and many other countries in the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday asked people to be vigilant and take precautions against the viral disease. In his last ‘Mann ki Baat’ broadcast of the year, Modi said many people are on a vacation or will go on one during Christmas and New Year and urged them to follow protocols like wearing masks and Read More
Key Events
Maharashtra on Monday recorded 15 new cases of coronavirus that raised the tally of infections to 81,36,526, an official from the state health department said.
The toll remained unchanged at 1,48,415, while the count of recoveries reached 79,87,957 after nine patients recovered from the infection in the last 24 hours, the official said.
A British national and an Indian coming from abroad were suspected to be infected with Covid-19 following a rapid antigen test at the Netaji Subhas Chandra International Airport in Kolkata, a senior official of the West Bengal Health Department said on Monday. The British woman, aged around 42 years, has been shifted to an isolation ward of the state-run Infectious Diseases & Beleghata General Hospital in Beliaghata here, the officer said.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Monday stressed on the importance of preventing an infodemic and sharing only authentic and verified information on COVID-19, and urged doctors to educate the public on various aspects of the disease and its prevention and management. While it is important to be on the alert and follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour including wearing of masks, it is equally important to prevent an infodemic and share only authentic and verified information on the disease, he said during a virtual interaction about 100 doctors and members of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) from across the country. (PTI)
Teachers of Delhi government schools will be deployed at Delhi airport from December 31 to January 15 to ensure that Covid appropriate behaviour is followed by passengers arriving from abroad. Schools will remain closed in Delhi during this period due to winter vacations, an ANI report said.
Today a meeting regarding (Covid) situation was held under CM’s leadership. We’ve 19,535(Covid)beds, 122, & 27 RTPCR labs, out of which 8 are functional& 12 will be functional soon. Thermal screening will be done at airport, railway stations&other entry points: J’khand Health Min pic.twitter.com/sMo45g0IIL
— ANI (@ANI) December 26, 2022

Amid the continuing global surge in Covid-19 cases, the Delhi government on Monday directed all public hospitals in the national capital to ramp up preparations and augment supplies in anticipation of rising infections in the coming days. According to an official statement issued on Monday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia chaired a review meeting with directors and medical superintendents of government hospitals during which he asked them to prepare for a rise in Covid cases in the near future. (ANI)
The rapid spread of Covid-19 infection in China has driven many people indoors and emptied shops and restaurants. Factories and companies are also forced to shut down or cut production because of more workers getting sick, reported CNN. The Chinese economy was already struggling when Beijing abruptly relaxed its stringent zero-Covid policy. Retail sales had contracted in November because of widespread lockdowns, and unemployment had surged to the highest level in six months.
A British historian, an Italian archaeologist and an American preschool teacher have never met in person, but they share a prominent pandemic bond. Plagued by eerily similar symptoms, the three women are credited with describing, naming and helping bring long COVID into the public’s consciousness in early 2020. Rachel Pope, of Liverpool, took to Twitter in late March 2020 to describe her bedeviling symptoms, then unnamed, after a coronavirus infection. Elisa Perego in Italy first used the term “long COVID,” in a May tweet that year. Amy Watson in Portland, Oregon, got inspiration in naming her Facebook support group from the trucker cap she’d been wearing, and “long hauler” soon became part of the pandemic lexicon. (AP)
The Delhi government on Monday approved a budget of Rs 104 crore for hospitals to procure general medicines as part of preparations to deal with emergency situations amid a surge in Covid cases in some countries. At a review meeting, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia directed the heads of government hospitals to share details of beds, ventilators, ICUs, human resources, oxygen plants, and medical logistics with the Health department by the evening. (PTI)
कल देश में कोविड सम्बंधित अस्पतालों में mock drill होगी। सभी राज्यों के स्वास्थ्य मंत्री भी अपने स्तर पर इसमें भाग लेंगे।
Tomorrow, a mock drill will be conducted throughout country at all COVID hospitals. All States Health Ministers will also take part in this at their level.
— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) December 26, 2022

Modelling data from credible agencies do not foresee any major Covid wave in Jammu and Kashmir, a leading pulmonologist said, but advised people to take precautionary measures as models “can go horribly wrong”. In a series of tweets, SKIMS Director Dr Parvaiz Koul said, “Modelling data from credible agencies (like from University of Washington) predict a low circulation of the virus for coming weeks in JK (Jammu and Kashmir), but models can go horribly wrong.
The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday activated the administrative machinery to test Covid preparedness and management, including conduct of mock drills at medical colleges and hospitals across the state, after two fresh cases were reported from Unnao and Agra.
According to Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar, two per cent random testing of international passengers will continue at the Bengaluru and Mangaluru international airports. Bowring Hospital in Bengaluru and Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru have been designated as two quarantine centres for international passengers who test positive for COVID-19, he added.
Random COVID-19 testing has started at various airports across the country in the wake of rising cases of #COVID globally. pic.twitter.com/pfQeUSWgcA
— Dr Mansukh Mandaviya (@mansukhmandviya) December 26, 2022

A mock drill will be held on Wednesday across a number of health facilities in several states and Union territories to ensure their readiness to deal with any eventuality related to COVID-19, following an advisory by the Centre. The exercise will focus on parameters such as availability of health facilities (covering all districts), capacity of isolation beds, oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds and ventilator-supported beds, and optimal availability of doctors, nurses, paramedics, AYUSH doctors, and other frontline workers, including ASHA and Anganwadi workers.
Delhi’s Deputy CM Manish Sisodia held a high-level review meeting to take stock of the preparations in view of #COVID pic.twitter.com/byYRhFlR5V
— ANI (@ANI) December 26, 2022

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will hold a virtual meeting with the Indian Medical Association (IMA) at 4 pm on Monday on Covid-19 preparedness, situation, and awareness, IMA informed ANI. Recently, IMA also issued an advisory and appealed to the public to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour with immediate effect. (ANI)
The Karnataka government on Monday announced that wearing face masks inside theatres, schools and colleges will be mandatory. The fresh guidelines were announced by state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar, in light of Covid concerns rising in the country. READ MORE
Two passengers have been found Covid positive at the Kolkata airport, an ANI report said. Their samples have been sent for genome sequencing, While one passenger came from Dubai on December 24, another came from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, airport authorities said.
With the Christmas and New Year’s holiday season kicking off the central government has stepped up measures against the virus in light of the cases rising, especially in China where the lifting of the zero-Covid policy has caused a spread of the pandemic. PM Modi has also chaired meetings and his government has written to the states to put in place adequate measures to deal with any spurt.
Experts have, however, believe that the Covid situation in India may not deteriorate like that of China since the primary variant that’s driving the spike in cases in the neighbouring nation is not a novelty here. Moreover, Indian have already developed “herd immunity” a top official of CSIR- Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) here said.
The BF.7 variant – sublineage of Omicron BA.5 – was earlier detected in India and four persons were found to be infected with it as well, but they have since recovered. “The severity of the infection is not as much as it used to be with Delta. That’s because of the fact that we do have herd immunity to an extent. Actually, we have herd immunity because we are exposed to the other viruses,” he told PTI.
“We (India) have seen the Delta wave which is a big one. Then we have got vaccination done. And then the Omicron wave came and we continued booster doses. We are different in many ways. What is happening in China may not happen in India because of that,” he further said.
Meanwhile, as a precautionary measure, the Centre has asked states and union territories to ensure the availability of Liquid Medical Oxygen, adequate inventory of cylinders and functional life support equipment such as ventilators at hospitals to face any challenge.
The government has also started random sampling of 2 per cent of international arrivals at all airports in an attempt to check any infection spike in the country. The Centre had said RT-PCR test would be made mandatory for passengers from China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Thailand and asked states to conduct a mock drill on December 27 to ensure the readiness of health facilities including medical oxygen generation plants.
As the testing at Indira Gandhi International Airport In Delhi continued for the second day on Sunday, some passengers tested positive, according to an official. At the Delhi airport, as many as 455 passengers were subjected to random coronavirus testing, starting from 10 am on Saturday till 7 pm on Sunday. Out of them, less than half per cent are positive cases, an official at Genestrings Diagnostic Centre said.
The government has made random coronavirus testing mandatory for two per cent of passengers arriving on each international flight from Saturday amid a surge in coronavirus cases in various countries.
On Sunday, Chief Medical Officer of Agra, Arun Srivastava said a 40-year-old man, who returned from China two days back, tested positive for COVID-19 following which he has been isolated at his home in the city. His samples will be sent to Lucknow for genome sequencing, he said.
“The man has been isolated at his home and teams of the health department have been asked to conduct tests of his family members and those who came in contact with him,” Srivastava added.
The man returned to Agra from China via Delhi on December 23 following which he was tested at a private lab. The report came out positive for Covid. This is the first Covid positive case in the district detected after November 25, officials said.
Meanwhile, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) stopped publishing daily COVID-19 data on Sunday, amid doubts about their reliability as infections have exploded in the wake of an abrupt easing of tough restrictions. “Relevant COVID information will be published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for reference and research,” the commission said in a statement, without specifying the reasons for the change or how frequently China CDC will update COVID information.
The NHC’s halt to reporting daily infection and death totals comes as concerns grow around the lack of vital information since Beijing made sweeping changes to a zero-COVID policy that had put hundreds of millions of its citizens under relentless lockdowns and battered the world’s second-largest economy. Despite the record surge of infections, the NHC had reported no COVID deaths nationwide for four consecutive days before halting the data release. China narrowed its definition for reporting COVID deaths, counting only those from COVID-caused pneumonia or respiratory failure, raising eyebrows among world health experts.
British-based health data firm Airfinity last week estimated China was experiencing more than a million infections and 5,000 deaths a day. After COVID cases were breaking daily records in late November, the NHC this month stopped reporting asymptomatic infections, making it harder to track cases.
Official figures from China had become an unreliable guide as less testing was being done across the country, while China has been routinely accused of downplaying infections and deaths. The United States has also reported COVID cases less frequently, changing from daily to weekly updates, citing needs to reduce the reporting burden on local areas.
The World Health Organization has received no data from China on new COVID hospitalisations since Beijing eased its restrictions. The organisation says the data gap might be due to the authorities struggling to tally cases in the world’s most populous country. Several models and reports in recent days have forecast as many as two million COVID deaths as the virus spreads to rural sections of the country, threatening to hit the most vulnerable elderly population and the unvaccinated.
The country’s healthcare system has been under enormous strain, with staff being asked to work while sick and even retired medical workers in rural communities being rehired to help grass-root efforts, according to state media. Bolstering the urgency is the approach of the Lunar New Year in January, when huge numbers of people return home.
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