Covid alert, again: India prepares for a wave as virus wreaks havoc in China

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs high level meeting to review status and preparedness of public health response to Covid-19, in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI)

The government has started random RT-PCR sampling among the passengers arriving at all international airports amid the surge of Coronavirus infection

Our Bureau
New Delhi/Bengaluru/Lucknow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting on Thursday to assess the COVID-19 situation in the country and cautioned against complacency while laying stress on testing and strengthening the surveillance measures, specially at international airports.

He emphasized COVID-appropriate behavior at all times, especially in view of the upcoming festive season, including wearing masks in crowded public places. Amid concerns due to rise in cases in some countries, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya briefed Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha about the measures being taken by the government to meet the possible challenges.

He said the government has started random RT-PCR sampling among the passengers arriving at international airports in the country amid the recent surge of Coronavirus infection in countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, France, and the United States.

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday said that the government has started random RT-PCR sampling among the passengers arriving at international airports in the country amid the recent surge of Coronavirus infection in various countries including China, Japan, South Korea, France, and the United States.

“We have also started the random RT-PCR sampling among passengers arriving at International airports in the country. We are committed to tackling the pandemic and are taking appropriate steps,” Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said in his statement in the Lok Sabha while advising the States to make sure that people wear masks, use sanitizers and maintain social distancing even during the festive and the New Year season. He also encouraged the states to increase awareness towards precautionary doses against Coronavirus.

“We are keeping an eye on the global Covid situation and are taking steps accordingly. The States are advised to increase genome-sequencing to timely identify the new variant of Covid-19,” Mandaviya added.

He further said that the health department has been proactive in managing the Covid pandemic. The Centre has also provided financial assistance to States in the fight against the pandemic, he added.

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar and Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla also referred to the COVID-19 situation in some countries and urged members to wear masks. The BF.7 Omicron variant is driving cases in China.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal chaired a high-level review meeting on Thursday to assess the COVID situation and take stock of the government’s preparedness.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that India is keeping an eye on the Covid situation in China.

“We are keeping an eye on the Covid situation in China. We have always helped other countries as the pharmacy of the world,” said MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi during a weekly press briefing.

Apart from Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand and Punjab also held a COVID review meeting.

Karnataka Government, after a meeting on Thursday, said it has decided to make face masks mandatory in closed spaces, even those that are not air-conditioned.

“An advisory will be issued making masks mandatory at indoor, closed and air-conditioned places. Union government guidelines will be followed for random testing and screening passengers arriving from abroad at international airports,” Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reviewed the COVID situation in the state. Kerala Health Minister Veena George said that a general alert has been issued in the state due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in some countries.

She said there is no cause for concern in the state and urged people to be cautious and take precautionary measures. Districts have been asked to increase surveillance, she said. “At present we have 6,000 reserve oxygen cylinders and 15 oxygen tankers as well as a capacity to store 928 metric tonnes of oxygen. In Delhi, almost 100 percent people have got the first and second dose, but only 24 percent people have got their precaution dose,” she added.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) issued an advisory and appealed the public to follow COVID-appropriate behavior with immediate effect.

In its advisory, the IMA listed out necessary steps including wearing face masks in all public places, maintaining social distancing and washing hands regularly with soap and water or sanitizers.

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