- PM Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the emerging COIVD situation
- PM also reviewed India's preparedness in terms of public health measures
- Airport, Port Health Officials to be sensitised for supervision of testing
New Delhi: Following the emergence of the new COVID variant of concern ‘Omicron’, the Centre on Sunday advised States/UTs and nodal agencies to keep a strict vigil at airports and ports and focus on enhancing genomic surveillance of incoming passengers from “at-risk” countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (November 27) chaired a high-level meeting to review the emerging situation and India’s preparedness in terms of public health measures. Following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) flagging the Omicron variant as a Variant of Concern, the Union Health Ministry has advised States/UTs regarding testing, surveillance, monitoring of hotspots, augmentation of health infrastructure, genome sequencing and enhancing public awareness.
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According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the criticality of scrupulous implementation and rigorous monitoring of the three-pronged surveillance strategy of screening and testing international travellers and their contacts, routine sentinel surveillance and surge surveillance, and timely sending of RT- PCR positive samples to designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) were stressed upon along with enhanced testing and monitoring of COVID-19 hotspots.
In wake of the emergence of the new COVID Variant of Concern ‘Omicron’, India will review its decision on the effective date of resumption of scheduled commercial international passengers services. The decision was taken in an urgent meeting chaired by Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla. The meeting followed the high-level review by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.
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According to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, it was decided that the government will further review Standard Operating Procedure on testing and surveillance of incoming international passengers, especially for those countries identified ‘at risk’ category, Chairing the meeting today, the Home Secretary in presence of experts decided that a closer watch on the emerging pandemic situation within the country will be maintained. Besides, other experts including Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Dr Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to Prime Minister and senior officers from Health, Civil Aviation and other Ministries comprehensively reviewed the overall global situation in wake of the Omicron virus. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, genomic surveillance for variants is to be further strengthened and intensified.
Airport Health Officials (APHOs) and Port Health Officials (PHOs) will be sensitized for strict supervision of testing protocol at airports and ports.
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The strengthening and intensification of genomic surveillance for variants through the INSACOG network was agreed upon with a focus on sampling and whole-genome sequencing of international passengers especially from those countries where Omicron variant has been detected. India has categorized 16 countries including some in Europe in “at-risk” category. The countries include the UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Finland, South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong and Israel.
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(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.