New Delhi: Mock drills were being conducted at some of the hospitals in Delhi on Tuesday to assess their preparedness, including availability of beds and manpower, to deal with any increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister, who also holds the health portfolio, visited the Delhi government-run Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan (LNJP) Hospital around noon to assess the drill.
“The Delhi government is prepared for any kind of emergency. At LNJP, there are 2,000 beds and 450 of them are dedicated to COVID-19. If a need arises, we can dedicate all 2,000 beds for COVID-19… we can also increase this number by using nearby banquet halls and add an additional 500 beds for COVID-19, so there would no shortage,” Sisodia told reporters at the hospital.
The deputy chief minister asked people not to panic, saying primary data suggests that the new BF.7 sub-strain of the coronavirus, which is causing a surge in infections in other countries, is similar to previous variants.
“Compared to previous times, oxygen availability has increased 10 times, five PSA plants have been set up here. And ventilators are also present. Today, a mock drill was conducted, how patients can be attended to and shifted to desired location within five minutes was observed,” he added.
A senior official said Sisodia visited LNJP Hospital around 12 noon and spent 30-40 minutes to inspect the preparedness of the medical facility. The exercise comes in the wake of the Centre issuing an advisory to this effect on Monday amid a spurt in COVID-19 cases in some countries.
“Now, we have new cylinders which were bought during the previous Covid wave, and we even have tankers for transportation. The Delhi government and our health department are fully prepared for any situation,” Sisodia told reporters.
LNJP Medical Director Suresh Kumar said there was no reason to panic, but people must be vigilant, follow Covid guidelines and take the booster dose of the vaccines. “In the mock drill, we saw our response time and it was perfect,” he added.
Besides the LNJP, the drill is taking place at other government-run facilities in the national capital and some of the private hospitals are expected to take up the exercise later in the day. The mock drill will assess bed availability, manpower, referral resources, testing capacity, medical logistics, telemedicine services and medical oxygen availability, among other aspects.
Real-time data on the availability of beds, oxygen cylinders and ventilators will be available for the public on a Delhi government portal from Tuesday, officials have said. COVID-19 testing is also likely to be ramped up soon. At present, around 2,500 to 3,000 tests are being conducted daily in the city, an official said.
Apollo Hospital in south Delhi’s Sarita Vihar is among the private hospitals where the drill will be held, sources said earlier. Sources at another private hospital confirmed the exercise will take place at its Delhi facilities.
The national capital currently has 8,200 beds dedicated for COVID-19 patients and if needed, this can be increased to 25,000 and further, to 36,000 beds.
Delhi has recorded over 2,007,000 Covid cases and 26,521 deaths since the pandemic started in early 2020. The number of daily cases has remained below 20 and the positivity rate below 1 per cent since mid-November, according to official data.
Referring to the surge in COVID-19 cases in some countries, the Union health ministry on Saturday underlined that it was necessary that requisite public health measures are put in place in all states and union territories to meet any exigencies.