Post health minister's review of Covid situation, states take measures

COVID is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance, tweeted Mandaviya

Post health minister's review of Covid situation, states take measures

NH Digital

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday reviewed the COVID-19 situation in the country in view of a sudden spurt in cases in some parts of the world, and directed officials to be alert and strengthen surveillance.

"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," Mandaviya said in a tweet.

The secretaries of health, department of pharmaceuticals, department of biotechnology, Ayush, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Rajiv Bahl, Member (Health) of NITI Aayog Dr V K Paul and National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) Chairman Dr N K Arora attended the meeting among other officials.

In view of the rise in cases in Japan, the United States of America, Republic of Korea, Brazil and China the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday urged all states and Union territories to ramp up the whole genome sequencing of positive samples of Covid to keep track of emerging variants.

In a letter to states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said such an exercise will enable timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country and will facilitate undertaking of requisite public health measures.

West Bengal health officials have said the state is ready to tackle any fresh contagion wave.

Testing and management of COVID-19 is being done regularly in the state to keep a tab on the contagion, said Dr Siddhartha Niyogi, Director of the state's health services.

The union health ministry on Tuesday sent a missive to state governments asking them to gear up for any possible future surge and to send for genome sequencing all positive case samples to track the variants through the INSACOG (Indian SARS-Cov2 Genomics Consortium) network.

"We have been conducting COVID-19 tests very regularly. We have a good number of doctors and para-medics, sufficient masks, oxygen supplies and ample number of beds in different hospitals and medical colleges to address the situation if there is a spurt in COVID cases," the official said.

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said the state government will form a task force or a committee to study the evolving situation.

Raising the issue in the state Assembly, Leader of Opposition Ajit Pawar said be it China, Japan, Korea or Brazil, new variants of COVID-19 are being reported.

In China, the situation is serious and there are no beds available for hospitalisation, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader claimed.

Will there be a high-powered committee task force to study the evolving situation and what is happening in other parts of the world, he asked.

In response, Fadnavis said, "We will coordinate with the Centre on this. As suggested by the leader of the opposition, we will form a task force or a committee to keep an eye on the evolving situation and make suggestions. We will definitely implement these suggestions."

Pawar said the state should rise above party lines to tackle this challenge.

The Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has directed the health department to ensure genome sequencing of samples and take other steps needed to meet any eventuality.

"The Delhi government is keeping a watch on the Covid situation. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal himself is monitoring the preparedness," a senior Delhi government official said on Wednesday.

"The CM has directed health department officials to ensure genome sequencing and other steps needed to meet any eventuality. Whatever steps needed to meet the emerging COVID situation will be promptly taken," the officer said.

(With PTI Inputs)

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