As per Health Ministry sources, random sampling of international passengers for Covid-19 has started at airports in the country from today. This comes amid the spurt of Covid cases in a string of countries including China. This is being done to enhance the procedure of genome sequencing as well, a notification for which was sent to states and UTs on Tuesday.
In the past week four cases of B 7 variant have been found in India. The authorities are closely watching situation in China, the MoFHW sources say.
A review meeting of top health officials and experts on the Covid situation in the country was called on Wednesday.
No new mandate for international flights
Meanwhile, Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog announced that there is no new mandate for international flights declared as of now in India.
The Covid review meeting
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday chaired a review meeting of top health officials and experts on the Covid situation in the country and directed officials to be alert and strengthen surveillance amid a surge in coronavirus cases globally.
"COVID is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation," tweeted Union Health Minister after the meeting.
Reports of the sudden rise in Covid cases in China, Japan, the US and Brazil among other countries have surfaced.
Ahead of today's meeting that commenced at 11:30 am, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar said the meeting has been convened to discuss the situation of Covid-19 in other countries and what needs to be done for India.
The physical meeting commenced at 11:30 am on Wednesday.
"Yesterday's guidelines were issued for doing genome sequencing," Pawar told mediapersons.
Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, NITI Aayog at the end of the today's meeting said: "Only 27-28 per cent of people have taken precaution dose. We appeal to others, especially senior citizens, to take precaution dose. Precaution dose is mandated and guided to everyone." He also urged people tp use mask in crowded spaces, indoors or outdoors. "This is all the more important for people with comorbidities or are of higher age," Paul said.
Attendees in the meeting
Those who attended today's meeting included Secretaries of health, Ayush, the department of pharmaceuticals and department of biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Rajiv Bahl, Member (Health) of NITI Aayog V K Paul and National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) Chairman N L Arora, Secretary in Department of biotechnology Dr Rajesh Gokhale and MoHFW DGHS Dr Atul Goel.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Wednesday in a letter to States and Union Territories had said that in view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, USA, Korea, Brazil and China, it is essential to gear up whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network.
"All states are requested to ensure that as far as possible samples of all positive cases, on a daily basis, are sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) that are mapped to the States and UTs," said Union Health Secretary.
(with inputs from ANI)
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