New Delhi: In response to the escalating COVID-19 cases nationwide, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya conducted a comprehensive review meeting on respiratory illnesses and the surge in coronavirus infections on Wednesday. Health ministers from various states and senior officials were involved in the discussion. On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) categorically classified the JN.1 coronavirus strain as a “variant of interest” in its most recent update.
Emphasizing the need for a unified governmental approach, the health minister urged collaboration and vigilance without succumbing to panic. He advocated for proactive measures, including regular mock drills to assess hospital preparedness, heightened surveillance, and effective communication with the public.
Mandaviya proposed a quarterly mock drill initiative in all hospitals and assured the full support of the central government to the states. He underscored the non-political nature of health issues, emphasizing the importance of collective efforts.
Sources revealed that the meeting focused on the preparedness of health facilities and services, particularly in light of the recent upswing in respiratory illnesses such as Influenza Like Illness/Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (ILI/SARI), including cases of Covid-19.
Simultaneously, recognizing the surge in Covid-19 cases and the identification of the new JN.1 variant in Kerala, the Health Ministry issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories. The advisory stressed the necessity of constant vigilance and recommended the implementation of public health measures during the upcoming festive season.
To mitigate the risk of increased disease transmission, states were advised to adhere to respiratory hygiene practices. Furthermore, the Health Ministry urged states to enhance testing efforts in accordance with the revised surveillance strategy for Covid-19, as outlined in operational guidelines. The states were specifically directed to ensure adequate testing in all districts, following the recommended distribution of RT-PCR and Antigen tests.