Modi chairs high-level meeting on COVID-19 situation, cautions against complacency, calls for strict vigil
New Delhi, December 22, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged everyone to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour at all times, especially in view of the coming festive season, including wearing of masks in crowded public places.
Chairing a high-level meeting to assess the COVID-19 situation in the country, Modi reiterated that the pandemic was not over yet and directed officials to strengthen the ongoing surveillance measures, especially at the international airports.
The meeting also reviewed the preparedness of health infrastructure and logistics, status of the vaccination campaign in the country and the emergence of new COVID-19 variants and their public health implications for the country.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of a spike in COVID-19 cases in some countries.
A comprehensive presentation was made at the meeting regarding the global COVID-19 situation including the rising cases in countries by Secretary, Health and Member, NITI Aayog.
The Prime Minister was briefed that India has been witnessing a steady decline in cases with average daily cases falling to 153 and weekly positivity down to 0.14% in the week ending December 22.
However, 5.9 lakh daily average cases have been reported globally in the last six weeks.
Modi stressed the need to ensure that the entire COVID infrastructure at all levels is maintained at a high level of preparedness in terms of equipment, processes and human resources. He advised States to audit COVID-specific facilities to ensure operational readiness of hospital Infrastructure, including oxygen cylinders, PSA plants, ventilators and human resources.
He directed officials to ramp up testing and also genomic sequencing efforts. States have been asked to share a larger number of samples with the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (lGSLs) for genome sequencing on a daily basis. This will support timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country and facilitate undertaking requisite public health measures.
He also urged that that precaution dose may be encouraged especially for vulnerable and elderly groups.
The Prime Minister was informed that there is adequate availability with regard to medicines, vaccines and hospital beds. He advised officials to regularly monitor availability and prices of essential medicines.
Highlighting the globally appreciated work of the frontline healthcare workers, Modi exhorted them to continue working in the same selfless and dedicated manner.
The meeting was attended by Amit Shah, Union Home Minister; Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of Health and Family Welfare; Jyotiraditya Scindia, Minister of Civil Aviation; S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs; Anurag Thakur, Minister of Information and Broadcasting; Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare; PK Mishra, Principal Secretary to PM, Parameswaran Iyer, CEO, NITI Aayog; V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog; Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary; Amit Khare, Advisor, PMO; A. K. Bhalla, Home Secretary; Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary (HFW); Rajiv Bahl, Secretary (DHR); Arun Baroka, Secretary, Pharmaceuticals (I/C); along with other senior officials.