PM briefed about the new Variant of Concern ‘Omicron’ along with its characteristics, impact in various countries & implications for India
Delhi, Nov 28
PM Narendra Modi chaired a comprehensive meeting which lasted for almost 2 hours to review the public health preparedness & vaccination related situation for Covid-19 on Nov 27.
PM was briefed about the global trends on Covid-19 infections and cases. Officials highlighted that countries across the world have experienced multiple COVID-19 surges since the onset of the pandemic. PM also reviewed the national situation relating to Covid-19 cases and test positivity rates.
PM was apprised of the progress in vaccination and the efforts being made under the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign. PM directed that there is a need to increase the second dose coverage and that states need to be sensitised on the need to ensure that all those who have got the first dose are given the second dose timely. PM was also given details about the sero-positivity in the country from time to time and its implications in public health response.
Officials briefed PM about the new Variant of Concern ‘Omicron’ along with its characteristics and the impact seen in various countries. Its implications for India were also discussed. PM spoke about the need to be proactive in light of the new variant. 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’. PM also asked officials to review plans for easing of international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence.
PM was given an overview of the sequencing efforts in the country and the variants circulating in the country. PM 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 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. PM also asked that awareness needs to be created about ventilation and air-borne behaviour of the virus.
Officials briefed PM that they are following a facilitative approach to newer pharmaceutical products. PM 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.
PM asked officials to co-ordinate with states to endure proper functioning of PSA oxygen plants & ventilators.
The meeting was attended by Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary, Dr. V.K.Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, A.K.Bhalla, Home Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary (MoHFW), Secretary (Pharmaceuticals); Dr. Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary (Biotechnology); Dr. Balram Bhargava, DG ICMR; Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary (AYUSH); Durga Shankar Mishra, Secretary (Urban Development); R.S. Sharma CEO NHA; Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan (Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt. of India) along with other senior officials.