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Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan today reviewed the preparedness status of oxygen infrastructure, including PSA plants, oxygen concentrators and oxygen cylinders, and ventilators, in the country.

The Centre also said states and UTs must ensure all oxygen equipment till the field level at all health facilities is tested and kept in a functional state to meet any emergent situation. The government said states or UTs must ensure full utilisation of ECRP-II funds.

The tally of coronavirus variant Omicron breached the 3,000 mark today. The variant of concern that was first detected in South Africa has now spread to 27 states in the country. Maharashtra has the highest Omicron count with 876 cases, followed by Delhi with 465 cases. 

Also read: Consider people with these symptoms Covid suspects; test them: Centre to states

On January 4, the Centre had asked states and UTs to start the exercise to repurpose preparedness against another potential surge in Covid-19 cases. The letter issued by the Ministry of Home Additional Secretary Arti Ahuja said states and UTs can review the matter at their level regularly to ensure that in the eventuality of a potential surge in hospital admission, they are not found wanting.

The letter stated that states and UTs are expected to “develop Covid-19 free care centres in hotel rooms and other similar accommodations to be linked with dedicated Covid hospitals for the care of mild or asymptomatic cases".

On January 1, Bhushan had written to the chief secretaries of all states and UTs to take measures to deal with a possible surge in COVID cases. Bhushan said in the context of the spread of variant of concern, Omicron, the world is currently reporting the highest ever surge in Covid-19 cases. He also asked them to start the process of setting up makeshift hospitals and constitute special teams to monitor patients in home isolation.

Also read: Set up testing booths, encourage self-test: Centre to states, UTs

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