Govt. is prepared to deal with new COVID-19 variant: Sisodia

RT-PCR test compulsory for all passengers from high-risk countries, says DDMA

Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal on Monday chaired a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), which was also attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, to assess the COVID-19 situation in light of the Omicron variant.

Sources said the DDMA had decided to conduct RT-PCR test on passengers from the high-risk countries, genome sequencing of the positive cases, and enforce mandatory isolation/quarantine as per the guidelines laid down by the Central Government.

The virus positivity rate, testing, hospital infrastructure, efforts towards vaccination, and enforcement of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour were discussed at the meeting.

As advised by experts, Government sources said, it was decided to continue with the test, track and treat strategy with emphasis on surveillance, isolation of positive cases, contact tracing and strict enforcement of COVID-19-appropriate behaviour.

Officials were advised to implement the guidelines for international passengers as issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in coordination with the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

According to sources, it was stressed that necessary institutional mechanism be put in place for rigorous surveillance of international passengers, isolation of positive cases, monitoring of people in home quarantine, timely genome testing of positive samples, and effective dissemination of evidence-based information to avoid panic.

Speaking about the Omicron variant, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said they are already prepared and taking measures to ensure availability of hospital beds. “If cases rise, then some beds which were diverted for dengue will be reserved again for COVID-19 once the dengue cases drop,” he said.

Mr. Sisodia further said that it will take some time to get clarity on how deadly the new variant is or how it will affect those who are vaccinated.

Dedicated hospital

The Delhi Government on Monday designated Lok Nayak Hospital for treatment of any patients found infected with the new variant.

“Lok Nayak Hospital is hereby designated as the dedicated hospital which will treat patients detected with the new variant of SARS-CoV-2. The hospital will designate one or more separate wards (as per need) for isolating and treating such patients, as per the provisions circulated by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” an official order said.

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