The Centre on Monday said that so far only 5% to 10% of the cases of coronavirus have led to hospitalisation during the third wave of the pandemic in the country.

In a letter to states and Union Territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the numbers were 20% to 23% during the Delta variant-driven second wave that peaked in India in May.

“The situation is dynamic and evolving, therefore, the need for hospitalisation may also change rapidly,” Bhushan, however, warned in his letter. The rise in Covid-19 cases in the country appears to be driven by the Omicron variant as well as by the continued presence of the Delta strain, he said.

The health secretary advised the states and Union Territories to monitor indicators like number of active cases, number of patients who have been hospitalised and those who are admitted to intensive care unit wards, or are in need of oxygen or ventilation support on a daily basis.

He asked the authorities to upgrade Covid-19 designated centres with oxygen-supported beds wherever necessary and engage retired medical professional and students in medical colleges in tele-consultation services.

He also suggested states and Union Territories to earmark different categories of beds in private facilities for treatment of Covid-19 patients.

“It must also be ensured that charges levied by such health facilities are reasonable and there is a mechanism to monitor and initiate action in cases of over-charging if any,” Bhushan said in the letter.