Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Mandaviya reviews Covid-19 situation, amid steep rise in cases worldwide

New Delhi: Union Health minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the covid-19 situation in India and preparedness of public health system for surveillance, containment and management in view of rising cases worldwide.

The minister was briefed on the global and the domestic covid-19 situation.

Underlining the challenge posed by the increasing number of Covid cases in some countries across the world such as China, Japan, South Korea, France and the US, Mandaviya noted the importance of being prepared and remaining alert against new and emerging strains of Covid, especially in the view of upcoming festive season.

Reiterating that Covid is not over yet, he directed the officials to be fully geared up and strengthen surveillance. He also urged people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated against Covid.

Mandaviya ordered strengthening the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country.

“This would facilitate undertaking of appropriate public health measures. States/UTs have been requested to send samples of all COVID-19 positive cases to INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) on a daily basis, for sequencing, to track new variants, if any,” he said.

India has witnessed a steady decline in cases with average daily cases falling to 158 in the week ended 19 December. However, a consistent rise in global daily average cases has been reported in the last 6 weeks, with 5.9 lakh daily average cases in week ending 19 December.

A new and highly transmissible BF.7 strain of the Omicron variant is found to be behind a wider surge of covid infections in China.

The Union Health Ministry has already issued “Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in context of COVID-19″ in June 2022 which calls for early detection, isolation, testing and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases to detect and contain outbreaks of new SARS-CoV-2 variants. The minister directed officials for ensuring effective implementation of the same.

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