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No Signs Of Omicron Variant XBB.1.16 Leading To Severe Infection Among Children: Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj

Minister Bharadwaj said there were no indications that Omicron variant XBB.1.16 was leading to severe infection among children and assured that the government was closely monitoring the situation

No Signs Of Omicron Variant XBB.1.16 Leading To Severe Infection Among Children: Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj
The current rise in Covid cases is being driven by XBB.1.16, which is a sub variant of Omicron: Official Sources

New Delhi: Amid a spurt in Covid cases, the Delhi government will soon be issuing guidelines for schools, even as Health Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj on Thursday (April 13) assured that the Omicron variant XBB.1.16 is not leading to severe infection among children. Delhi’s single-day COVID-19 cases count breached the 1,000-mark for the first time in more than seven months on Wednesday, while the positivity rate stood at 23.8 per cent, according to data shared by the health department here.

Earlier in the day, Delhi Education Minister Atishi said the government is reviewing the situation and guidelines for schools will be issued soon.

Our government is reviewing the Covid situation and guidelines will be issued to all the schools in this regard very soon, she said during a press conference.

Minister Bharadwaj said there were no indications that Omicron variant XBB.1.16 was leading to severe infection among children and assured that the government was closely monitoring the situation.

Commonly, any illness affects children and the elderly. But there is no information coming in from experts that says that the Omicron XBB.1.16 variant infection is more severe among children, he said. I would advise people with low immunity or those with severe illnesses to avoid crowded places and wear masks. The transmissibility of this variant is high, he added.

Noting that the cases are rising, Minister Bharadwaj expressed hope that they will plateau soon.

The government is fully prepared. There are adequate number of oxygen beds, ventilator beds, ICU beds. By the grace of god, we should not require them. The government is closely monitoring the situation, he said.

Also Read: COVID: XBB 1.16 Variant Able To Evade Immune System, Upcoming Four Weeks Crucial: Experts 

The health department on Wednesday said 221 of the 7,944 beds in the city’s dedicated Covid hospitals are occupied, with experts saying that the cases will peak in the next couple of weeks.

A newborn diagnosed with COVID-19 has been admitted to LNJP Hospital here, its medical director said on Thursday.

Mr. Suresh Kumar, the medical director at LNJP Hospital, told PTI during an interaction that wearing masks has been made “mandatory” at the facility.

The 2,000-bed British-era facility is the largest hospital under the Delhi government.

Children are not vaccinated, so we need to take precautions for them as they are getting symptoms like fever, cough, eye infection and stomach infection as well. This variant (XBB.1.16) is affecting children more. An 18-day-old newborn has even been admitted to our hospital and the child is Covid positive, he said.

Four more children are admitted to the hospital, Mr. Suresh Kumar said.

It is better to wear masks in schools and public places and even senior citizens should wear masks. Precaution is surely better, he said.

We will see the peak of Covid cases in one-two weeks and the graph will go down from thereon, Mr. Suresh Kumar said.

Mock drills were conducted at hospitals in Delhi on Tuesday to ascertain their preparedness to tackle the disease amid a surge in cases in the national capital.

The mock drill conducted on Tuesday was part of a nationwide exercise to take stock of the hospitals’ preparedness to tackle the surge in Covid cases.

Officials had already announced that both public and private facilities are expected to participate in the exercise conducted on April 10 and 11.

Also Read: Amid Rise In COVID Cases, Odisha Government Seeks 50,000 Doses Of CorBEvax Vaccine From Centre 

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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