Mandaviya tells Lok Sabha, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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Centre is taking all measures to combat Omicron: Mandaviya tells Lok SabhaNew Delhi : The pandemic was one of the focal points of discussion for the Friday’s Parliament session with objections being raised on the government’s response to the COVID and further details about the new variant. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed Lok Sabha that the government is taking necessary steps ensure that the more transmissible Omicron variant doesn’t spread in the country.

Highlighting that all samples from at-risk countries and obtained through random sampling are being sent to INSACOG for genomic sequencing, Mandaviya said, “The two positive Omicron cases have already tested negative, with all their contacts being traced and tested to prevent the further spread of the variant.”

Informed that the revised advisory has already been issued which is applicable on all international passengers travelling to India after 1st December.

Talking about the centre’s response to the pandemic he said the government formed an expert committee before the first case in the country was reported and responded to all the requirements raised by states to provide healthcare services.

The Health Minister highlighted that the centre provided all the necessary equipment including PPE kits, N95 masks, medicines and ventilators which were in shortage at the beginning of the pandemic.

Responding to the allegations raised in the session on ventilators provided by the Centre being faulty, he said, “There were 16,000 ventilators in total at the start of the pandemic which were not sufficient to fulfil the healthcare needs and equivalent manpower to manage these ventilators. The demand rose during the first and second wave, it was analysed by the expert committee which concluded that India needs 75,000 more ventilators. Keeping this demand in mind, the Centre ordered 58,000 ventilators, 97 percent of them were given to the Indian government’s company. Out of these, 50,200 had been delivered to states, 48,000 of which have been installed and certified to be in use. The required manpower was also trained at all levels to use these ventilators.”

He further expanded on how the government increased the oxygen supply as the demand rose during the first and second wave of the pandemic further. Adding on that the oxygen was transported through trains to regions that required it, oxygen tankers from other countries were brought to the country, and the Indian Navy and Air Force were used to make the transport of oxygen easier only to ensure that the oxygen requirements were met.

Speaking about India’s current vaccination pace and continuous efforts to ramp it up further, he said “India’s milestone of 100 million doses was appreciated by people across the globe. But to ensure 100 percent vaccination coverage, the centre started the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign on 3rd November. Our health workers, volunteers and other welfare workers have worked hard to identify unvaccinated people in the remotest of regions and get them vaccinated. It is due to the Digital India Mission that digital platforms like CoWIN and Sanjeevani are helping in India’s fight against COVID.”