India’s health ministry is conducting mock drills to check preparedness of hospitals to deal with rising Covid-19 cases.
The drills are being held on Monday and Tuesday across the country.
India’s active case count is relatively low but experts are urging caution to stop further spread of the disease.
The country saw a deadly second wave in 2021 and the government came under criticism as many hospitals ran out of oxygen and critical care beds.
India recorded close to 6,000 new cases on Sunday, government data shows. The active case count was 35,000.
The surge in number is largely driven by XBB.1.16, which is an omicron subvariant. The WHO has said it was watching the subvariant and the spread in India.
Experts say it’s not known to be lethal.
“It’s been in circulation for a few months. We haven’t seen a change in severity in individuals or in populations, but that’s why we have these systems in place,” Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s COVID-19 technical lead, recently said.
Many cities in India have seen a sharp rise in cases in recent weeks, but the surge has not led to an increase in hospital admissions.
Both public and private hospitals are participating in the mock drills, which are being supervised by India’s health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, and other state health ministers.
In an online meeting held on 7 April, Mr Mandaviya had also asked health officials to identify emergency hotspots by tracking cases related to respiratory illnesses and he also advised them to increase testing and vaccination for Covid-19.
He also stressed the need for increasing awareness about Covid-appropriate behaviour like wearing masks in public places.
Meanwhile, some states have made it mandatory to wear masks in public and are urging citizens to follow Covid-19 safety protocols.
India was on alert in December as well due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in neighbouring China, and had stepped up surveillance.