New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry on Sunday (November 26) issued an advisory to States and Union Territories urging them to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness measures in view of the emerging public health situation in China. Health Ministry said that currently, the situation is not that alarming adding that it is closely monitoring the situation. “In view of the recent reports indicating a surge in respiratory illness in children in northern China in recent weeks, the Union Health Ministry has proactively decided to review the preparedness measures against respiratory illnesses, as a matter of abundant caution. This is noted to be important in view of the ongoing influenza and winter season that results in an increase in respiratory illness cases. The government of India is closely monitoring the situation and indicated that there is no need for any alarm,” the ministry said.
Union Health Secretary has also written a letter to States and UTs advising them to immediately review public health and hospital preparedness measures. The Ministry said,
All States and Union Territories have been advised to implement ‘Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of COVID-19’, shared earlier this year, which provides for integrated surveillance of respiratory pathogens presenting as cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI). They have also been asked to ensure that the trends of ILI/SARI should be closely monitored by the district and state surveillance units of the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP), particularly of children and adolescents.
The Ministry said that information shared by WHO has indicated an increase in respiratory illness in northern parts of China. The health ministry said,
This is predominantly attributed to usual causes like Influenza, Mycoplasma pneumonia, SARS-CoV-2 etc. As per WHO, the release of COVID-19 restrictions coinciding with the onset of the winter season in addition to the cyclical trend of respiratory illnesses such as Mycoplasma pneumonia have led to this surge. While WHO has sought additional information from Chinese authorities, it is assessed that there is no cause for any alarm at the moment.
After the pneumonia outbreak in China, Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Saturday that teams of health officials in the state are on alert. The health minister said,
The World Health Organisation (WHO) discussed this with China yesterday. The WHO has discussed with China the pneumonia that is seen in children. What we know is that China has clarified that there is nothing to worry about. When the news came out, our expert committee met to analyse the situation. Yesterday, I chaired a meeting with doctors from BME and DHS.
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