Samples of all COVID-19 positive cases urged to be sent Indian Genome Sequencing Laboratories for sequencing & tracking new variants…
Taking note of the manner in which the COVID situation is unfurling in China, the Indian Govt has started taking proactive measures on the same. According to a Department of Health and Family Welfare release, States/UTs advised to send samples of all Covid-19 positive cases to Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) labs to facilitate tracking of new variants.
Chairing a high level meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in India and preparedness of public health system for surveillance, containment and management of COVID-19 in view of the recent spike in cases of COVID-19 in some countries, Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare along with Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare. Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, senior officials and public health experts discussed the issue at length.
Officials asked to be fully geared up and strengthen surveillance
The Union Health Minister was briefed on the global COVID19 situation and the domestic scenario. Underlining the challenge posed by the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in some countries across the world such as China, Japan, South Korea, France and United States, Union Health Minister noted the importance of being prepared and remaining alert against new and emerging strains of COVID-19, especially in view of the upcoming festive season. Underlying and reiterating that COVID is not over yet, he directed the officials to be fully geared up and strengthen surveillance. He urged people to follow COVID appropriate behaviour and get vaccinated against COVID.
Dr Mansukh Mandaviya directed for 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 Indian Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) on a daily basis, for sequencing, to track new variants, if any.
India witnessing a steady decline in cases
In a presentation, the Union Health Minister was briefed that India has been witnessing a steady decline in cases with average daily cases falling to 158 in the week ending 19th Dec, 2022. However, a consistent rise in global daily average cases has been reported since the last 6 weeks, with 5.9 lakh daily average cases reported in the week ending 19th Dec, 2022. A new and highly transmissible BF.7 strain of the Omicron variant has been found to be behind a wider surge of COVID infections in China.
The Union Health Ministry had 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 Union Health Minister directed officials to ensure effective implementation of the same.
Government announces COVID guidelines for international arrivals
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced a set of guidelines for international arrivals with effect from December 24, 2022 against the backdrop of surging cases in China and some other parts of the world. The below guidelines are to be followed by international travelers at points of entry at airports, seaports and land borders.
· Those planning to travel should be preferably fully vaccinated as per the vaccination schedules of their country.
· During travel, announcements on precautionary use of masks will be made in flight and need to be followed at all points of entry.
· Any passenger with slight symptoms of COVID shall be isolated from other travelers according to standard protocol, and will be shifted to an isolation centre for follow up treatment.
· On arrival, passengers are urged to maintain social distance while deboarding. A random 2% of passengers shall undergo post arrival testing at airports. Such travelers will be identified by the concerned airlines from different countries and their samples will be sent for testing, after which they can leave the airport.
· If their samples test positive, the sample will be sent for genomic testing to the INSACOG lab network. The passengers will then be traced and isolated for further treatment.
· Children under 12 will not be subject to post arrival random testing, unless they are symptomatic. In such cases they will be tested and treated.
· Apart from this, thermal screening will be done for all passengers.
All passengers are urged to self-monitor their health post arrival and in case of symptoms visit the nearest Health Centre or call the helpline 1075 for guidance.
After Priyanka Gandhi, Sonia tests COVID positive for second time in 2 months
Congress MP and former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, on Saturday, tweeted that Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi had tested positive for Covid-19 again. Earlier, Gandhi had tested positive two months back in June this year. Few days back, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi had also informed on twitter that she had tested positive for COVID-19 in gap of two months.
Ramesh informed that Sonia would remain in isolation as per government protocol.
He wrote, “Congress President Smt.Sonia Gandhi has tested positive for Covid-19 today. She will remain in isolation as per Govt. protocol. आज कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष श्रीमती सोनिया गांधी का कोविड-19 टेस्ट रिपोर्ट पॉजिटिव आया है। वह सरकार द्वारा जारी प्रोटोकॉल का पालन करते हुए आइसोलेशन में रहेंगी।”
Congress President Smt.Sonia Gandhi has tested positive for Covid-19 today. She will remain in isolation as per Govt. protocol.
आज कांग्रेस अध्यक्ष श्रीमती सोनिया गांधी का कोविड-19 टेस्ट रिपोर्ट पॉजिटिव आया है। वह सरकार द्वारा जारी प्रोटोकॉल का पालन करते हुए आइसोलेशन में रहेंगी।
— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) August 13, 2022
Active COVID cases near 30,000 mark in Nagpur
Nagpur’s COVID-19 tally, on Tuesday, January 25, reached 5,43,064 (till 5 pm) as 4028 (972 from rural and 2956 from city) new cases were recorded in a single day.
Also, active COVID cases, as on Tuesday, could be seen inching closer to 30,000 mark in the district.