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PM Modi takes stock of situation on Covid front in wake of China wave

PM Modi chairing high-level meet amid China's BF.7 Covid surge (Image courtesy: PIB)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a high-level virtual meeting to take stock of the COVID-19 situation in the country as the coronavirus wave sweeping across China has raised fears that the highly contagious disease could spread globally again.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and NITI Aayog Chief Executive Officer Parameswaran Iyer were among the others who attended the meeting.

The meeting comes a day after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya reviewed the coronavirus situation in a meeting with experts. He urged people to wear masks in crowded places and get booster vaccination shots against the virus. Emphasizing that COVID-19 is not over yet, he asked the officials to be fully geared up and strengthen surveillance.

In the last six months, India reported four cases of the BF.7 Omicron sub-variant, which is driving the current surge of infections in China.

Sources said there are currently 10 different variants of Covid-19 in the country, with the latest being BF.7.

Earlier in the day, Health Minister Mandaviya 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 United States.

He also advised states to increase awareness about 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.

“So far, 220 crore Covid vaccine shots have been given,” the Health Minister said. Mandaviya claimed that the number of Covid cases is depleting in India despite its surge across the world.

“From the last few days, Covid cases have been rising in the world but in India, the cases are depleting. We are seeing rising Covid cases and deaths due to it in China,” he said.

Mandaviya has already directed the officials to be fully geared up and strengthen the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure the timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country.

According to the latest figures, India has reported 129 fresh Covid infections over the last 24 hours. The number of active cases in the country stands at 3,408 while one death was also recorded in the last 24 hours.

There has been an alarming surge in Covid cases in China, Japan, South Korea, France, and the United States. The spike is being blamed on the new Omicron sub-variant BF.7, which has also been detected in four Indian states.