Omicron Scare: K’taka Health Min Instructs Medical Colleges To Stay Prepared

Amid concern over the new COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ and possible third wave, Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said that the state has instructed medical colleges across the state to make necessary preparations for every possibility.

After chairing a video conference meeting with the directors of the medical colleges, on a possible third wave and the new Omicron virus-related treatment, the minister said, “There are 21 medical colleges offering health services at the district level. Everyone, including the HOD, Professors and senior doctors of medical colleges have been advised to stand up to the demand and provide effective treatment.”
“They can also avail the help of resident doctors, and final year medical students. During the first and second wave, the state faced a shortage of nurses to treat those who were in the ICUs. Now that problem has been solved. There are about 18,000 people in final year nursing and paramedics. Officials have been asked to provide one-month training for them, in collaboration with Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and other institutions,” Sudhakar said.

Earlier, the Centre on Thursday informed that two people have tested positive for the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in Karnataka.

On the issue of tracing and tracking possible suspects and international travellers, the Health Minister said, “Priority has been given to trace those 57 passengers from Africa. In the past, our police department has done a good job of tracking down those who have escaped. And our police demonstrate their efficiency and will track them all. But I urge the passengers to act responsibly and with social concern.”

Further sharing the infrastructure and monetary preparation made by the state health department to combat the virus, Sudhakar said, “We have got the information on all necessary equipment and other systems which are required. Issues raised by institutions are also addressed and solutions are provided for the issues flagged by them. Resident doctor’s Covid risk allowance to the tune of Rs 55 crore which was pending has been released by the Finance Department. The total amount required is nearly Rs 73 crore and it will be credited to the concerned account within a couple of days. We were facing some technical glitches to credit salaries to their account. Institutions have taken twenty days to be registered in HRMS. From December onwards, salaries will be directly credited to their bank accounts.”

“As per the advice of the Covid Technical Committee, a special ICU and ward will be provided for the Omicron infected. Those who are infected with Delta will be treated in a separate ward. The number of beds and ICUs to be reserved will be decided soon,” he added.

A new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year.

On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’. The WHO has classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.

Dozens of countries have imposed travel restrictions on the southern African nations since the mutation was discovered.

The new Omicron coronavirus variant has been confirmed in 23 countries and their number is expected to rise, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said.

India has also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in the country, including post-arrival testing for infection. (ANI)

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