Mandaviya reviews COVID-19 situation and preparedness of public health system in view of surge in cases worldwide
New Delhi, December 21, 2022
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya chaired a high-level meeting here today to review the COVID-19 situation in India and the preparedness of public health system for surveillance, containment and management of the pandemic.
The meeting, held in view of the recent spike in cases of COVID-19 in some countries, was also attended by Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare Bharati Pawar and NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul, senior officials and public health experts.
The Minister was briefed on the global COVID-19 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, Mandavia 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.
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.
Mandaviya called 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 and Union Territories (UTs) have been requested to send samples of all COVID-19 positive cases to INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) on a daily basis, for sequencing, to track new variants, if any.
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 December 19. However, a consistent rise in global daily average cases has been reported for the last six week, with 5.9 lakh daily average cases reported in week ended December 19.
A new and highly transmissible BF.7 strain of the Omicron variant has been found to be behind the wide surge of COVID infections in China.
The Health Ministry has already 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.
Mandaviya directed officials to ensure effective implementation of the same.
Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Union Health Ministry, Ajay Kumar Sood, Principal Scientific Advisor, R S Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Rajesh Kotecha, Secretary, AYUSH, Rajiv Bahl, Secretary, Department of Health Research, Atul Goel, DGHS, Lav Agarwal, Additional Secretary, MoHFW and N K Arora, Chairman of the COVID Working Group, National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), were present in the meeting.