COVID-19 third wave: Begin preparing hospitals, Union govt tells states

The Union Health Ministry has written to states and Union territories, urging them to ensure maximum preparedness ahead of an expected third wave of COVID-19.
Two health workers preparing a bed in a COVID-19 hospital
Two health workers preparing a bed in a COVID-19 hospital
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The Union government on Tuesday, January 4, asked states and Union territories to review infrastructure preparedness, including re-establishment of field and makeshift facilities, so that they are not found wanting if there is a surge in hospital admissions due to escalation in COVID-19 cases. To tackle a possible spike in COVID-19 cases, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on January 1 advised states to start setting up makeshift hospitals and constitute special teams to monitor patients in home isolation, as he emphasised the significance of upgrading health infrastructure in a timely and swift manner.

Referring to the letter of Bhushan, Additional Secretary in the ministry Arti Ahuja wrote to all states, saying it is expected that the work for re-establishment and re-commissioning of field and makeshift hospital facilities would have begun. States and Union Territories must have also started the exercise to repurpose the beds in public and private hospitals for COVID-19 cases to ensure maximum preparedness against another potential surge in cases, the officer said in the letter additional chief secretary, principal secretary and health secretary of all states. "You may review this matter at your level regularly to ensure that in the eventuality of a potential surge in hospital admissions, the state and UT is not found wanting," she stated.

States are also expected to develop COVID-19 care centres in hotel rooms and other similar accommodations to be linked with dedicated COVID-19 hospitals for mild or asymptomatic cases, Ahuja reiterated.

"It is imperative that logistical supplies like testing reagents and kits (both for RT-PCR and rapid antigen testing) are procured and maintained in ample supply to avoid any stock shortages, in case of a sudden increase in the number of cases. It is advised that these preparatory measures must be taken up with the highest priority and regular monitoring may be ensured," she said. 

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