India: No cases of Covid BF.7 variant found in Delhi, says CM Arvind Kejriwal

Government says it is fully prepared to deal with new wave of virus


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Published: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 9:13 PM

Last updated: Thu 22 Dec 2022, 9:14 PM

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said that there is no need to panic as the national capital does not have a single case of the Covid-19 Omicron sub-variant BF.7.

There has been an alarming surge in Covid cases in China, Japan, South Korea, France, and the United States. The spike is being blamed on the new Omicron sub-variant BF.7, which has also been detected in four Indian states.

Addressing the media after the Covid-19 review meeting, the Chief Minister said, "Covid-19 cases are rising in China and several other countries. It has BF.7 variant. We don't have a single case of that variant in Delhi. So there's no need to worry."

He further that the health department is conducting genome sequencing of all the positive cases which are being reported in the city.

However, Kejriwal said that XBB variant cases are being reported in Delhi.

"BR.7 variant was not detected even in sewage samples collected and tested from seven different places in Delhi. 92 per cent of the cases being reported in Delhi are related to the XBB variant or its sub-variants," he said.

The Chief Minister said that the Delhi Government is fully prepared for the new wave of Covid-19.

"Currently, 2,500 tests are being done every day. Now we have the capacity to conduct over 100,000 tests per day and that too can be increased. We have 8,000 beds for Covid in Delhi. Now, we aim to prepare 36,000 beds for Covid."

The Chief Minister stressed on the shortage of oxygen which was witnessed in 2021 and said that now the city has enough storage capacity as well. "Last time we had an issue with storing oxygen. Now, we have a capacity of storing 928 MT oxygen. We have 6,000 oxygen cylinders in reserve if needed. In 2021, we did not have tankers to procure oxygen from other states. Now, we have 15 tankers to procure oxygen," he added.

"We have 380 ambulances, we have given orders for procuring more ambulances," the Chief Minister said.

Kejriwal requested people to take the precaution doses as only 24 per cent of people have taken them till date.

"First and second doses have been provided to almost 100 per cent of beneficiaries. Only 24 per cent people have taken precaution dose. We request the people to take the precaution dose. During the meeting we discussed another door-to-door campaign to give precaution doses to the people," said Kejriwal.

On being asked about the face mask, he said, "We are waiting on the guidelines of the Central government. As and when it gives orders we will implement," said the Delhi CM.

PM holds high-level meeting to review status

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting to review the status and preparedness of public health response to Covid-19 and emphasised the need for strengthened surveillance with a focus on genome sequencing and increased testing.

According to the Prime Minister's Office, this high-level review meeting comes against the backdrop of a spike in Covid-19 cases in some countries.

At the high-level meeting, PM Modi assessed the Covid-19 situation in the country, the preparedness of health infrastructure and logistics, the status of the vaccination campaign in the country and the emergence of new Covid-19 variants and their public health implications for the country.

In the last six months, India reported four cases of the BF.7 Omicron sub-variant, which is driving the current surge of infections in China.

Sources said there are currently 10 different variants of Covid-19 in the country, with the latest being BF.7.

Rajasthan to start screening, testing

The Rajasthan Health department on Thursday directed Chief Medical and Health Officers of all districts to start screening, genome sampling and identifying high-risk groups amid a spurt in Covid cases in some parts of the world.

Health Secretary Dr Prithvi has already issued orders to all collectors to ensure genome sequencing of all Covid positive samples to detect the new BF.7 sub-variant of the coronavirus' Omicron strain.

A meeting has been called for Friday to review preparations for Covid management.

In a letter to Chief Medical and Health Officers on Thursday, the Directorate of Medical and Health Services said effective action for prevention and control of Covid-19 had to be done following a sudden spurt in cases in Japan, the US, Republic of Korea, Brazil and China.

The Chief Medical and Health Officers have been directed to screen influenza-like illness through door-to-door surveys and suspected patients in hospital OPDs, conduct genome sequencing of Covid-positive samples, random sampling at bus stands, railway stations, markets, schools and other crowded places, identify high-risk groups and maintain interdepartmental coordination for availability of logistics and medicines.

The health secretary said all necessary resources were available in sufficient quantities and the state was prepared to deal with any challenge.

Officials said 10 patients infected with Covid-19 were found on Thursday. At present, 58 Covid-positive patients are undergoing treatment in the state.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also cautioned people against complacency and urged them to wear masks in crowded places, while also directing officials to strengthen surveillance measures, especially at international airports.


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