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Need To Be Alert But No Need To Panic: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya After Review Meeting Amid Rise In Covid Cases

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya reiterated that Covid was not over yet and requested the states to monitor emerging COVID-19 cases, symptoms and case severity to plan appropriate public health response

Need To Be Alert But No Need To Panic: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya After Review Meeting Amid Rise In Covid Cases
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya stressed on being alert against emerging strains of coronavirus

New Delhi: Amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases in the country, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya Wednesday (December 20) reviewed the preparedness of health facilities and stressed on being alert against emerging strains of coronavirus. Chairing the high-level review meeting with states, he reiterated that Covid was not over yet and requested the states to monitor emerging COVID-19 cases, symptoms and case severity to plan appropriate public health response. He assured the states of all support from the Centre and stressed the need for collective efforts between the Centre and the states to deal with the emerging situation in the spirit of the “whole-of-government” approach.

“We need to be on the alert but there is no need to panic,” the Union health minister said.

Also Read: WHO Terms Covid Strain JN.1 ‘Variant Of Interest’

Underlining the challenge posed by the rise in Covid cases in some countries such as China, Brazil, Germany and the United States, Mr Mandaviya noted the importance of being prepared and remaining alert against new and emerging strains of COVID-19, especially ahead of the upcoming festivities.

He directed officials to strengthen 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 and ensure timely detection of newer variants.

This would facilitate in taking appropriate public health measures in a timely manner, the minister noted.

At the meeting, states and UTs were requested to ramp up testing and refer a large number of Covid positive samples and that of pneumonia-like illnesses to INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) daily to track new variants, if any.

Mr Mandaviya urged all states to remain alert, increase surveillance and ensure adequate stock of medicines, oxygen cylinders and concentrators, ventilators and vaccines.

He told officials to undertake mock drills every three months at both the central and state levels to assess the functionality of PSA plants, oxygen concentrators, cylinders and ventilators, and encourage the sharing of best practices.

The Union health minister asked states to raise awareness among people on respiratory hygiene and ensure the dissemination of factually correct information and counter fake news to mitigate any panic.

Also Read: Uttarakhand Issues Advisory To Adhere To Covid Prevention Guidelines

He urged the states to share information on cases, tests and positivity in real time on the Covid portal to enable timely monitoring and prompt public health measures.

Union Health Secretary Sudhansh Pant briefed Mr Mandaviya about the COVID-19 situation both domestically and globally.

The meeting was informed that while active Covid cases in India were significantly low compared to the global scenario, there has been a steep rise in active cases.

It was also noted that 92.8 per cent of the cases were in home isolation. There has been no increase in the hospitalisation rates due to COVID-19. The cases that are hospitalized are due to other medical conditions and COVID-19 is an incidental finding, the meeting was informed.

A rise in daily positivity rate has been observed in a few states like Kerala, Maharashtra, Jharkhand and Karnataka.

On the new JN.1 variant of SARS-CoV-2, the meeting was told that the variant was under intense scientific scrutiny, but not a cause of immediate concern. No clustering of cases has been observed in India due to JN.1.

Dr V K Paul, member (Health) of NITI Aayog reiterated the need for a “whole-of-government” approach to tackle the challenges posed by the surge in Covid cases and the emergence of a new variant.

He said the scientific community in India was closely investigating the new variant but stressed the need for states to ramp up testing and strengthen their surveillance systems.

Dr Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Department of Health Research and DG, ICMR said that ICMR was working on genome sequencing of the new JN.1 variant. He urged states to monitor the COVID-19 scenario and increase RT-PCR tests but noted that there is no cause for panic.

Also Read: 292 Fresh COVID-19 Cases, Three Deaths In Kerala

(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 the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. 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 populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation 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 well-being, 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, which 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 pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual 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.

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