Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Mask up, take precaution dose

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PNS | New Delhi

In view of a sudden spurt in COVID cases in China and some other countries, the Union health minister on Wednesday reviewed the situation in the country and asked people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks in crowded places, and get vaccinated.

Official sources said random sample testing will be done at airports for international passengers arriving from China and other countries.Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, “COVID is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation.”

During the meeting, attended by experts and senior officials, the minister was briefed on the global COVID-19 situation and the domestic scenario, including the preparedness of all stakeholders.

Noting that only 27-28 per cent of India’s eligible population have taken the precaution dose of COVID-19, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul, after the meeting, said people should take the jab and also wear masks in crowded places.

Paul urged people not to panic and said there was no change in the guidelines for international air travel so far.”People should wear masks in crowded areas. Those with comorbidities and old should especially adhere to this,” Paul said.

The government will again hold a meeting next week to monitor the situation.
Underlining the challenge posed by the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in some countries across the world such as China, Japan, South Korea, France and the United States, Mandaviya noted the importance of being prepared and remaining alert against new and emerging strains of COVID-19, especially in view of the upcoming festive season.

He directed for strengthening of the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure the timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country.

This would facilitate the undertaking of appropriate public health measures. States/UTs have been requested to send samples of all COVID-19 positive cases to INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) on a daily basis, for sequencing, to track new variants, if any, a health ministry statement said.

In a presentation, the Minister was briefed that India has been witnessing a steady decline in cases with average daily cases falling to 158 in the week ending December 19, 2022.
However, a consistent rise in global daily average cases has been reported for the last six weeks, with 5.9 lakh daily average cases reported in the week ending December 19, 2022.

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