Delhi has started preparing for the next Covid-19 wave, ramping up medical oxygen supplies and transport, hiring health care workers, and augmenting infrastructure.
The administration is also attempting to create its own model of predicting the onset of such waves, and launching a city-based graded response action plan (GRAP) based on positivity rate indicators. On Thursday, the Delhi government constituted a state-level expert committee to create a Covid-19 wave predictor and GRAP. It also formed a second panel to ensure required Covid-19 infrastructure is ready in time.
The action plan comes at a time when experts have warned that a new wave of infections cannot be ruled out, especially due to the threat of more transmissible Sars-Cov-2 variants, low vaccination coverage, and the gradual lifting of the lockdown.
“If the third wave (fifth for Delhi) of the coronavirus emerges, we have to be prepared in advance to fight it… The problems that emerged during the second wave should not be faced by the people of Delhi again… Those problems are now being resolved. Teams have been formed to ensure an adequate number of beds and better management of oxygen, and essential medicines,” CM Arvind Kejriwal said last week.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said the government was implementing plans to ramp up beds, opening up makeshift centres, and adding infrastructure in the hospitals.
“Since the second wave began, Delhi government has been working to upgrade and enhance its medical infrastructure. Though cases have dipped, we continue to build infrastructure in preparation of a third wave. While we are working hard on vaccinating everyone in Delhi, the severe shortage of vaccinations in the country means that we have to be prepared for another wave before everyone gets vaccinated,” he said.
Government orders on Thursday said top priority is to be given to medical oxygen and establishing strong supply-chain management of all essential items. During the peak of infections, the city needed 700 MT of oxygen on average daily but often suffered critical shortages.