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China pneumonia outbreak: Gujarat strengthens Covid-era health infra

Gujarat Health Minister Rushikesh Patel on Tuesday said the healthcare infrastructure created during the Covid-19 pandemic was being strengthened as a precautionary measure in view of a surge in cases of mycoplasma pneumonia and influenza flu in China.

Days after the Union health ministry urged the states and Union Territories to conduct immediate assessment of the preparedness of hospitals, the Gujarat Health Department on Tuesday issued a similar advisory to all civil hospitals, sub-district hospitals, Chief District Health Officers and health officers of municipal corporations.

“The Indian government and Indian Council of Medical Research have taken the current situation in China seriously. This is a disease akin to pneumonia and the WHO has declared that no one has died due to this disease so far,” Patel told reporters in Gandhinagar.

“Since this disease attacks the respiratory system, we are strengthening our healthcare infrastructure which the state and Centre had created during the time of Covid-19 pandemic,” said the minister, who is also the government’s spokesperson.

The state government advisory, issued by additional director (public health) Dr Nilam Patel, said though there was no cause for alarm in India, this was an opportunity to review the public health system and hospital preparedness.

Local officials were asked to ensure that all medical equipment including oxygen plants and O2 concentrators were functioning properly.

“The Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of Covid-19” should be implemented and healthcare facilities at private hospitals as well as hospitals attached to medical colleges should be checked, the advisory said.

It also called for “active/passive surveillance” of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) cases. Hospitals were also asked to ensure adequate availability of ventilators, PPE kits, antiviral medicines, and make arrangements to set up isolation wards, if needed. PTI

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