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HomedelhiAmid uptick in Covid cases, doctors in Delhi ask people to exercise...

Amid uptick in Covid cases, doctors in Delhi ask people to exercise caution

New Delhi: Amid a recent uptick in Covid-19 cases in the country ahead of the festive season, doctors in Delhi have advised people to wear masks, avoid gatherings and maintain a healthy diet.

With Christmas and the New Year approaching, doctors at some hospitals in the city also referred to the detection of the first case of the new JN.1 variant of the coronavirus in the country and asked people to exercise extra caution.

According to sources in the government, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will on December 20 review the preparedness of health facilities and services in the wake of an upsurge in respiratory illness cases, including those of Covid, in some states.

India’s first JN.1 case was detected in a sample taken from a 79-year-old woman in Kerala with mild symptoms on December 8. Earlier, a traveller from Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirapalli district was found to be infected with the JN.1 variant in Singapore.

Kuldeep Kumar Grover, head of the critical care and pulmonology department at the C K Birla Hospital, said many patients who suffer from pollution-induced respiratory problems describe their symptoms as being similar to those induced by the Covid infection, including sore throat, nasal dripping and blockage.

Senior consultant at Metro Hospital Saibal Chakravorty said Christmas is around the corner and New Year is not far. Both these occasions see people gather in large numbers, he said, adding that gatherings should be avoided as much as possible. People should also maintain a balanced and healthy diet, Chakravorty said.

“We are advising people to wear masks, patients to use inhalers and avoid stepping out as much as possible…,” he said.

Mandaviya on Wednesday will hold the review meeting virtually with health ministers and additional chief principal secretaries (health) of all states and Union territories and officials of central ministries and departments concerned, according to the sources.

The government on Monday asked states and UTs to maintain constant vigil amid the uptick in respiratory illness cases and the detection of the JN.1 variant of the coronavirus in the country.

“The capital may see a worsened health problem as a result of the new JN.1 variant and pollution if the growing scenario is not seriously addressed,” Gurmeet Singh Chabbra, director and head of the pulmonology department at Marengo Asia Hospitals, said.

He said since Covid-19 mostly affects the respiratory system, it could considerably damage the population’s respiratory health when combined with the already-degraded air quality from pollution.

He said it was imperative to prioritise public health, implement preventive measures and take precautions to improve air quality while implementing controls to curb the spread of the virus.

(Published 19 December 2023, 14:44 IST)

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