New Delhi: Omicron and its sub-lineages continue to be the dominant coronavirus variants in India, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar told the Lok Sabha on Friday (February 10). During the last 60 days, more than 90 new variants of SARS-CoV2 have been detected in samples analysed by INSACOG, a national multi-agency consortium of genome sequencing laboratories, the minister said in a written reply to a question. Omicron and its sub-lineages continue to be the dominant variants in India. Of these, XBB and BQ are the most prevalent lineages circulating in the country, she said.
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Given the emergence of variants of the novel coronavirus with variable transmissibility and their possible health implications, the Union Ministry of Health is following COVID-19 trajectory globally and in the country along with various expert committees.
In addition, Indian SARS-CoV2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network laboratories conduct whole genome sequencing of samples for detection of mutant variants of the virus, she said. The Union Health Ministry is supporting states in their endeavour to enhance preparedness and response capacities against COVID-19. Various initiatives have been taken by the government to provide technical guidance and further strengthen health infrastructure, availability of essential logistics, including drugs and medical oxygen supply, to manage COVID-19.
All states and Union territories have been provided with financial support under the National Health Mission and Emergency COVID-19 Response Packages I and II for health system strengthening in terms of availability of oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds, ventilators, etc. In order to address any surge in demand for medical oxygen, the central government has supported states in increasing availability, streamlining distribution and strengthening oxygen storage infrastructure in the country, Ms Pawar said.
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NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the 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, 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 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.