Amid concerns over Omicron, PM Modi chairs crucial meeting on COVID situation, vaccination
The meeting comes amid global concern over the new B.1.1.529 strain of coronavirus named ‘Omicron’.
PM Narendra Modi on Saturday is chairing a key meeting with top government officials on the Covid-19 situation and vaccination coverage status in the country. The meeting comes amid global concern over the new B.1.1.529 strain of coronavirus named ‘Omicron’. The new variant was first discovered in South Africa and has been classified as a transmissible virus of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).
He spoke about the need to be proactive in light of the new variant. Officials briefed PM Modi about the new variant along with its characteristics & impact seen in various countries. The implications of the newly detected variant for India were also discussed.
However, in the wake of multiple cases of the new Covid-19 variant (B.1.1.1529)reported in Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong, the Centre has asked states to conduct "rigorous screening and testing" of all international travellers coming from and transiting through these countries.
"It is therefore imperative that all international travellers travelling from and transiting through these countries, (they are part of the "at risk" country category of international travellers coming to India) and also including all other "at risk" countries indicated in the revised guidelines for international arrivals issued by this ministry dated 11.11.2021, are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per health ministry guidelines," health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to all states on Thursday.
Earlier on November 3, PM Modi met with the officials of districts where the vaccination coverage was low and the respective Chief Ministers. Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, principal secretary to PM PK Mishra, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul are also attending the meeting, according to news agency ANI.
The meeting comes as India crossed the 1.21 billion doses mark on Saturday, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. As many as 1,210,658,262 doses of the vaccine have been administered to eligible beneficiaries, so far.