China Pneumonia Outbreak: Centre Asks States And UTs To Review Hospital Preparedness, Implement Disease Surveillance

The Union Ministry of Health has asked the state and union territories (UTs) to review public health measures and availability of drugs, hospital beds, oxygen, etc.


China Pneumonia

The Centre has written to states and union territories (UTs) to review public health and hospital preparedness in the wake of the pneumonia outbreak in China. 

The Centre has asked the states to review the number of hospital beds, stocks of medicines and oxygen, and the status of oxygen plants to tackle with any emerging situation. Earlier, the Centre had said that it is monitoring the situation in China. 

The states and UTs have been asked to implement 'Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in the context of COVID-19' shared earlier this year. The guidelines are meant for the integrated surveillance of respiratory conditions such as influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory illness (SARI) and the pathogens causing these conditions, according to a press release by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).


The press release lists the steps that the states and the UTs have been asked to take:

  • Check the availability of hospital beds, drugs, vaccines, medical oxygen, antibiotics, personal protective equipment, testing kits and reagents, functionality of oxygen plants and ventilators, infection control practices in health facilities
  • Closely monitor the trends of IRI and SARI, particularly in children, by the district and state surveillance units of Integrated Disease Surveillance Project (IDSP)
  • Upload IRI- and SARI-related data on IDSP-IHIP portal, particularly from the public health institutions including medical college hospitals
  • States to send nasal and throat swab samples of patients with SARI, particularly of children, to Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) for testing for respiratory pathogens 


In the press release, the Centre noted the World Health Organization (WHO) as saying that there is no need to be alarmed at the moment and that the cases in China coincide with the onset of winter season and lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

"This is predominantly attributed to usual causes like influenza, mycoplasma pneumonia, SARS-CoV-2 etc. As per WHO, the release of Covid-19 restrictions coinciding with the onset of winter season in addition to cyclical trend of respiratory illnesses such as Mycoplasma pneumonia have led to this surge. While WHO has sought additional information from Chinese authorities, it is assessed that there is no cause for any alarm at the moment," said the Centre. 

In northern China, reports have said that there has lately been an unusual surge in pneumonia cases in children. NBC News reported that hospitals have been "overwhelmed with sick children" in the region amid the surge. 

"At the Beijing Children’s Hospital in the capital, long lines of people were waiting to register during a visit by NBC News on Thursday. Waiting rooms were crowded with parents and children, some of them on IV drips," reported NBC.