Positive cases to be sent for genome sequencing; he urges Centre for booster doses
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said that there is no need to panic about the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and that the Delhi Government is fully prepared for the fight with adequate beds, oxygen and medicines.
Mr. Kejriwal said this in a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority held to discuss the problems posed by the variant. Experts said that the Omicron variant spreads rapidly but is very mild in nature.
“One might get fever and other mild symptoms but the need for hospitalisation and the chances of death are very low. We have come to the conclusion that this time, home isolation would be needed at large and have thus decided to further enhance our home isolation programme,” the CM said.
Mr. Kejriwal said that over the past week, the number of COVID-19 cases in the Capital has been rising and there is a need to find out if the variant spreading is Delta or Omicron.
“We have decided to get genome sequencing of each positive COVID-19 case done to determine what variant is spreading at present. Till now, only the people coming to the airport have been tested for the variants,” he said.
Mr. Kejriwal said that 99% of Delhi’s eligible population have been vaccinated with the first dose and about 70% with both the doses. He appealed to the Central Government to allow booster doses as Delhi is ready with the infrastructure to administer such doses first to healthcare workers and then to the rest of the population.
The Government said that 30,000 COVID-19 beds are ready in Delhi, while 100 beds per ward will be arranged as and when required on a two-week notice taking the total bed capacity to over 64,000.
“Additionally, 6,800 ICU beds will be ready soon. Medicine stocks are being added, and home isolation arrangements are being strengthened. The Government has issued a COVID-19 helpline number — 1031 — to help patients if they face any problem,” the Government said in a statement.
It added that to ensure that there is no shortage of essential medicines and equipment, 32 medicines have been identified for the treatment of COVID-19 and that the Government has mandated that a buffer stock of these medicines for 60 days be maintained.