New Delhi: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Tuesday (October 18) reviewed the Covid situation amid detection of cases of a new sub-variant of Omicron from parts of the country. The meeting concluded that wearing masks and following Covid-appropriate behaviour should continue, a health ministry statement said. With the emergence of new Omicron variants, many countries are witnessing a steep rise in Covid cases. During the meeting with public health experts and officials, Mr Mandaviya reviewed the pandemic situation, status of vaccination drive and the global scenario of new variants of Covid, it said.
The minister stressed on monitoring entry points, the statement said.
Mr Mandaviya stressed the need to undertake adequate testing (with higher proportion of RTPCR) and effective Covid surveillance to assess and control the spread of infection in a timely manner. He directed officials to continue to focus on surveillance, particularly through sentinel sites including monitoring of SARI and ILI cases, and on Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to scan for any possible mutation in the wake of identification of Omicron variants in other countries, the statement said. He also urged officials to closely monitor hospitalizations due to Covid and urged officials to increase the pace of vaccination, including precautionary dose to eligible beneficiaries, it said.
Mr Mandaviya also highlighted the need for community awareness for continued implementation of Covid Appropriate Behaviour especially in view of the upcoming festival season. Additional secretary Lav Agarwal made a detailed presentation on the global scenario of surge in Covid cases, primarily in Europe and an analysis of various Omicron variants, the statement said.
The presentation included a detailed analysis of the Covid situation in the country along with trends — daily cases being reported, active cases, case positivity and testing status along with state-wise weekly tests per million including share of RT-PCR, it said. Additional secretary Manohar Agnani gave a presentation on the current status of vaccination in the country, their availability and state-wise analysis of vaccine administration while highlighting the slow pace of administration of precautionary doses.
The meeting was attended by Dr Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor to the Govt, S Aparna, Secretary (Pharmaceuticals), Dr Rajiv Bahl, DG ICMR, Dr V K Paul, NITI Aayog member (Health) and, Chairperson of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) N K Arora along with other senior officials of the Health Ministry.
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