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India

Updated on: Saturday, November 27, 2021, 02:59 PM IST

Need to be proactive in light of new COVID-19 variant: PM Modi amid new strain worries

Photo Credit: ANI

Photo Credit: ANI

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday asked officials to review plans to ease restrictions on international travel in light of global concern over the new coronavirus variant - Omicron - that was first detected in South Africa earlier this week.

PM Modi's comments came after he chaired a high-level meeting on the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination drive in the country with top officials.

PM Modi said that we need to be proactive in light of the new variant while laying emphasis on the precautions to contain the virus.

PM Modi was briefed about the Covid-19 situation across the world, including new Variant of Concern 'Omicron' along with its characteristics and the impact seen in various countries, as per the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

He further highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified 'at risk'. PM Modi also asked officials to review plans for easing of international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence.

“PM said that in light of the new threat, people need to more cautious and the need to take proper precautions like masking & social distancing. PM highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’,” the PMO said in the statement.

PM Modi also asked officials to review plans for easing of international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence.

According to PMO, PM Modi directed that genome sequencing samples be collected from international travellers and community as per norms, tested through the network of labs already established under INSACOG and early warning signal identified for COVID-19 management.

PM Modi also spoke about the need to increase the sequencing efforts and make it more broad-based.

“He also directed officials to work closely with state governments to ensure that there is proper awareness at the state and district level. He directed that intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases and required technical support be provided to states which are reporting higher cases presently,” according to the PMO statement.

PM Modi also asked that awareness needs to be created about ventilation and air-borne behaviour of the virus.

The Prime Minister was also briefed about the global trends on Covid-19 infections and cases as he reviewed the national situation relating to the infections and test positivity rates.

Officials also briefed PM Modi that they are following a facilitative approach to newer pharmaceutical products. "Prime Minister instructed officials to coordinate with states to ensure that there is adequate buffer stocks of various medicines. He asked officials to work with the states to review the functioning of medical infrastructure including pediatric facilities," the PMO said in the statement.

The meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, P K Mishra, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog member (health) Dr V K Paul among others.

Amid rising concern about a new COVID-19 variant 'Omicron' first detected in South Africa, India also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing for infection.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare adds Hong Kong and Israel to the list of countries from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing considering the detection of new COVID variant 'Omicron' in South Africa.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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Published on: Saturday, November 27, 2021, 02:50 PM IST
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