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New Delhi, Nov 27 – Amid a surge in respiratory illness in North China, the Union Health Ministry on Sunday decided to review the state of preparedness against respiratory illnesses to deal with any eventuality.
The Health Ministry in a statement said the government is closely monitoring the situation, and indicated that there is no need for any alarm.
“This is noted to be important in view of the ongoing influenza and winter season that results in an increase in respiratory illness cases,” it said.
The Centre also wrote to the states and UTs, and they have been advised to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness measures.
The directive emphasised the need to ensure the availability of HR, hospital beds, drugs and vaccines for influenza, medical oxygen, antibiotics, personal protective equipment, testing kits and reagents, and functionality of oxygen plants and ventilators.
All states and Union Territories have also been advised to implement ‘Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of COVID-19’, shared earlier this year, which provides for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens, including influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI).
The Union Health Ministry also asked states to send nasal and throat swab samples of patients with SARI, particularly of children and adolescents, to Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) located in the states for testing of respiratory pathogens.
“The cumulative effect of the implementation of these precautionary and proactive collaborative measures is expected to counter any potential situation and ensure the safety and well-being of the citizens,” it said.
Recently, information shared by WHO has indicated an increase in respiratory illness in northern parts of China.
This is predominantly attributed to usual causes like Influenza, Mycoplasma pneumonia, SARS-CoV-2.
As per WHO, the release of Covid-19 restrictions coinciding with the onset of the winter season in addition to the cyclical trend of respiratory illnesses such as Mycoplasma pneumonia have led to this surge.
Meanwhile, the WHO has sought additional information from Chinese authorities, about the situation and it assessed that there is no cause for any “alarm” at the moment.