Amid global Covid spike, Health Minister Mandaviya to hold review meet today 


Amid a sudden spurt in COVID-19 cases in Japan, South Korea, Brazil, China and the US, sources told news agency PTI that Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will hold a meeting today with senior officials and experts on the Covid-19 situation in India. 

As per sources, the physical meeting will start between 11-11:30. Apart from this, the health minister will also review meetings on Covid-19 situations in other countries.

Earlier yesterday, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to States and Union Territories Bhushan to ramp up genome sequencing as the sudden surge in Covid cases.

It is essential to gear up whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network, Bhushan wrote in the letter. 

“All states are 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,” said Union Health Secretary.

Bhushan also mentioned that India with its focus on five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid Appropriate Behavior has been able to restrict the transmission of Covid-19 virus and is having around twelve hundred cases on a weekly basis

Apart from this, Dr NK Arora, Chairman of the COVID-19 working group NTAGI has also cautioned the people while asking them to keep a close vigil on the situation in the country. However, the expert said that there is nothing to panic about as the country’s system is “vigilant”.

“It is an important thing that we keep a close vigil on the Chinese situation. But I would say that there is nothing to be panicked about. There is no need for getting too much worried. The system is very vigilant, we need to be very vigilant. As far as genomic surveillance is concerned, this is the most important part we are doing genomic surveillance of individuals with symptoms,” he had said.

He added that overall we find that the situation in India is under control. But we need to maintain vigilance, particularly for surveillance. Dr Arora also said that the exact situation of COVID in China is still unclear.

Former Indian diplomat KP Fabian on Tuesday said that over 60 per cent of China and 10 percent of the world population is likely to be infected with Covid and millions may die.

Speaking on China expecting a massive surge in coronavirus cases, he said, “There are some reports. What will you say on China? Well, when you speak of 10% of the world population, which is about 8 billion, which means 10% is 800 million, which is a very big number. 

The last Covid-19 fatality in Beijing, which was seeing thousands of Covid positive cases before the revocation of the Zero Covid policy was on November 23.

After it, China stopped reporting asymptomatic patients which is a major part of the Covid tally. The country also scrapped the once common Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing apparatus and instead used rapid antigen kits which are known to be a little inaccurate. This pointed out that the data was altered or stood meaningless, according to The Straits Times.

Speaking of India, the country reported 112 new coronavirus infections, while the active cases declined to 3,490. The Covid tally stood at 4.46 crore (4,46,76,199).

The death toll stood at 5,30,677 with three fatalities, which includes two deaths reconciled by Kerala and one from Maharashtra in the last 24 hours, the data updated at 8 am stated. According to the ministry’s website 220 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.

(With inputs from agencies)