New Covid sub-variant on radar; flurry of surprise inspection of hospitals in Delhi

- December 25, 2023
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The fresh threat, as there was one early 2023, has only proven many experts right that "Covid is not out of the world yet"

Covid cases surged in late 2023 with the emergence of sub-variant JN.1, prompting the Delhi government to intensify genome surveillance to address the issue. As the festive season coincides with a rise in COVID cases, medical experts in Delhi are urging the public to prioritise safety measures such as mask-wearing, avoiding gatherings, and maintaining a healthy diet.

The alarming increase in infections echoes the devastating third wave caused by the Omicron variant in early 2022 and the havoc wreaked by the Delta variant in 2021, particularly in Delhi.

This recent spike reaffirms experts’ warnings that the COVID threat persists. Both the Central and Delhi governments are actively planning strategies to confront any potential crisis.

Delhi’s Health Minister, Saurabh Bharadwaj, informed PTI on December 20 about the reassessment of essential medical resources like oxygen cylinders and ventilator beds. He highlighted that while the Covid sub-variant JN.1 is infectious, it’s characterised as “mild,” emphasising the government’s vigilance in addressing the situation.

The Delhi health department officials have announced a bolstered genome surveillance program as part of their preparedness efforts.

With the resurgence of concern due to the new variant, mask mandates, previously relaxed due to improved conditions, are being reinstated across Delhi.

As the year draws to a close and celebrations like Christmas and New Year approach, large public gatherings are expected. Consequently, there’s an increased likelihood of more people wearing masks as a preventive measure, especially in crowded spaces and public transportation like the metro.

Bharadwaj has advised the public not to panic but to remain vigilant and cautious to mitigate the spread of the infection.

In recent times, Bharadwaj conducted surprise inspections at various government-run hospitals in Delhi to ensure equitable treatment for all patients. He specifically addressed concerns of VIP treatment and directed hospitals not to provide any special privileges to individuals, ensuring fairness in access to medical services.

During these surprise visits, Bharadwaj emphasised the importance of cleanliness in hospitals. He reprimanded hospital administrations for negligence and ordered stringent actions against those responsible for any lapses in maintaining hospital hygiene. Additionally, following allegations of bribery against a staffer at N C Joshi Hospital, Bharadwaj called for an investigation into the matter.

These measures reflect the Delhi government’s proactive approach in addressing both the resurgence of COVID cases and the management of healthcare facilities to ensure fair and efficient service delivery. (With inputs from PTI)