New Delhi: Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Health Minister, Government of India (GoI) chaired a review meeting on the issue of rising COVID-19 cases globally. The minister reaffirmed that COVID-19 is not yet over and asked people to be wary of the situation and work together on strengthening surveillance.
The meeting was called for in view of the recent rising cases of COVID-19 in some countries. The Health Ministry had requested States/UTs to send samples of all COVID-19-positive cases to INSACOG labs to track new variants if any. Health Ministry and INSACOG are keeping a sharp watch on the situation.
Post the meeting Dr Mandaviya tweeted, “In view of the rising cases of #Covid19 in some countries, reviewed the situation with experts and officials today. COVID is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation.”
The secretaries of health, Ayush, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) and Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Rajiv Bahl, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog and NL Arora, Chairman, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) and other senior officials were part of the meeting.
A letter was issued by Rajesh Bhushan, Addl Chief Secretary/Principal Secretary/Secretary (Health) of all States/UTs in view of the rising cases in some countries to all States/UTs. The letter stated, “In view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, United States of America, Republic of Korea, Brazil and China, It is essential to gear up the whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network. Such an exercise will enable timely detection of newer variants; if any, circulating in the country and will facilitate the undertaking of requisite public health measures for the same.”
All states have been 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. “The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare commends the consistent hard work put in by all States/UTs and will continue to extend required support to all states in this regard,” added Bhushan.
India will focus on the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour. The country has been able to restrict the transmission of the COVID-19 virus and has around twelve hundred cases weekly. The public health challenge of COVID-19 persists worldwide, with around thirty-five lakh cases reported weekly.