The drills were conducted against the backdrop of a spike in Covid-19 cases in China and other countries.
Mock drills were conducted in South Indian states on Tuesday, 27 December, to test the readiness of hospital infrastructure. The drills were held against the backdrop of a spurt in Covid-19 cases in several countries.
Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday, 23 December, had urged state governments to conduct mock drills.
To assess Kerala’s preparedness to deal with another wave of COVID-19, a mock drill was held at the Kozhikode Medical College on Tuesday.
An official of the medical college told the media that the institute was equipped to deal with an outbreak and has kept around 20 ventilator-cum-ICU beds ready.
As part of the drill, the doctors and nursing staff, clad in PPE kits, showed how they would deal with patients right from where they are shifted to gurneys and wheeled into the hospital.
During the drill, a ‘patient’ was provided oxygen support right after he was taken out of the ambulance.
Another official said that the hospital was equipped to cater to category ‘C’ patients, requiring ventilator support.
However, till now they have not received any directions from the government regarding the categories of patients they would have to take care of, the official said.
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar inspected mock drills at various hospitals in the state.
Speaking at KIMS, Hubballi, the minister said that the BF.7 variant of Covid-19 was another sub-variant of Omicron.
Although the new variant has been spreading rapidly, the symptoms were not severe. In other countries, the severity of the disease has been reported only in those who have co-morbidities. He said that surveillance has been stepped up at Bengaluru and Mangaluru international airports.
“Even if the number of infected people increases, we are prepared to ensure everyone gets quality treatment. All measures are being taken for the treatment of Covid-19 patients at government hospitals and the readiness will be constantly monitored and reviewed by the district authorities concerned,” Sudhakar said.
“People should cooperate with the government measures and adopt precautionary measures. There are about 8.5 lakh doses of the Covid-19 vaccine available in the state. Another 20-25 lakh doses will be procured. The Union government is ready to give the vaccine. Vaccination will be increased from the gram panchayat level itself, and I urge everyone to get the third dose,” the minister added.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramanian oversaw a mock drill at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital on Tuesday.
He said the state has sufficient stock of medicines, beds, equipment and oxygen to tackle any spike in Covid-19 cases.
Also, district-level health officials have been told to inspect the facilities to assess the preparedness and submit a report to the health department soon, he said.
Reiterating that the state machinery was fully prepared to face another possible wave of the pandemic, Subramanian told reporters that Tamil Nadu has six months’ stock of medicine and 1,954 million tonnes of oxygen, besides 1,75,291 beds in government and private hospitals across the state.
“Although the average daily requirement for oxygen is about 60-65 MT, the demand was for over 400 MT during the peak Covid-19 period. Tamil Nadu has sufficient stock of oxygen and medicines that will last six months. So, the public need not panic,” the minister assured.
Of the total bed strength, about 1,14,471 beds have been earmarked for Covid-19 patients. Of these, 68,624 are non-oxygen beds, 37,526 oxygen beds and 8,321 intensive care unit beds in both government and private hospitals in the state.
Government hospitals alone have 1,25,360 beds and 72,209 have been set aside for Covid-19 emergencies with 51,945 non-oxygen beds, 17,542 oxygen beds and 2,722 intensive care units beds, he said.
Stating that the mock drill was conducted in conformity with the Centre’s guidelines to assess the state of preparedness of the facilities, Subramanian said Tamil Nadu has been reporting coronavirus cases in single digits over the past few days with 51 active cases in the past 24 hours.
Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya oversaw the drill at the Centre-run Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi.
The Centre has asked the states and Union territories to conduct the drill as part of precautionary measures following an increase in infection in China and other countries.
Officials said the mock drill focused on parameters such as the availability of health facilities in all districts, the 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.
“Covid cases are rising all over the world and India might witness a spike in cases too. Hence it is important that the entire Covid infrastructure in terms of equipment, processes and human resources are in a state of operational readiness”, he stated.
Clinical readiness at hospitals is crucial, Mandaviya said while noting that government, as well as private hospitals, are undertaking mock drills.
Cautioning against complacency, he urged everyone to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour. He also asked people to refrain from sharing unverified information and ensure a high level of preparedness.
India recorded a single-day rise of 157 new Covid-19 cases, while the count of active cases has marginally decreased to 3,421, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.