India in alert mode as China grapples with mysterious pneumonia

Centre tells govts of all states/UTs to keep watch on cases of influenza and respiratory ailment and implement operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy in the context of Covid19

New Delhi: The Central government on Sunday alerted all the state governments and Union territories and told them to review preparedness of the hospitals in their respective jurisdictions owing to outbreak of a mysterious pneumonia in China. It, however, asserted that there is no need for alarm as of now.

In separate letters sent to the governments of all the states and Union territories, the Union ministry of health and family welfare advised them to implement ‘operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy in the context of Covid19.

The guidelines envisage surveillance of respiratory pathogens presenting as cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness. “Trends of ILI/SARI are to be closely monitored by district and state surveillance units,” said a senior officer of the MoH&FW, adding that some reports indicated a surge in respiratory illness among children in northern China, and is proactively monitoring the situation.

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In a press note, the ministry stated that it was important to keep close watch on cases of influenza and increasing instance of respiratory ailments owing to outbreak of winter session. “Government of India is closely monitoring the situation and indicated that there is no need for any fear,” it stated.

According to a new agency, the health department in China had feared spike in cases of respiratory illness and influenza infections during the chilly weather. “Some regions of China have reported sudden surge in mycoplasma pneumoniae infections,” said the State Council, which is China’s cabinet.

Officials dealing in health issues in the Chinese government have also feared the resurgence of Covid19 cases. Accordingly, hospitals of all regions have been told to share information about outbreak of infectious diseases promptly. The Chinese government is reportedly taking the surge in cases of influenza and respiratory ailment seriously this time, as it along with the World Health Organisation (WHO) had faced severe criticism for delay in declaring coronavirus as a pandemic in March 2020, even as the first Covid19 case was reported in late 2019 in China’s Wuhan.

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The WHO in a press note, citing information from China, stated that the data indicated rise in OPD consultations and hospital admissions of children due to mycoplasma pneumoniae infection since May, and RSV, adenovirus and influenza virus since October.

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