Modi reviews preparedness to tackle rising numbers of COVID-19 cases fuelled by Omicron variant
New Delhi, January 9, 2022
Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting here today to assess the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country and the preparedness of the health infrastructure and logistics sector to handle the rising numbers of cases of infection fuelled by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
The meeting, which was attended by, among others, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, also reviewed the progress in the vaccination campaign and the public health implications of the emergence of the Omicron variant.
An official press release said Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan made a detailed presentation at the meeting on the surge in cases currently being reported globally. This was followed by the status of COVID-19 in India, highlighting various States and Districts of concern, based on the surge in cases and high positivity being reported.
Further, various efforts taken by the Central Government so far in terms of supporting States to manage the challenge were highlighted. Various predictive scenarios of peak cases were also presented.
The support to the States to upgrade health infrastructure, testing capacity, availability of oxygen & ICU beds, and buffer stock of covid essential drugs under Emergency Covid Response Package (ECRP-II) was presented.
The Prime Minister stressed on the need to ensure adequate health infrastructure at the district level. He asked officials to maintain co-ordination regarding this with the states.
The presentation brought attention to India’s consistent efforts in the vaccination campaign, with 31% adolescents aged 15-18 years having been administered with the 1st dose so far within seven days. Modi called for further acceleration of the vaccine drive for adolescents in mission mode.
After detailed discussion, Modi directed that intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases and required technical support should be provided to states which are reporting higher numbers of cases presently. He highlighted the need to ensure effective usage of masks and physical distancing measures as a new normal to control the spread.
He underlined the need for effective implementation of home Isolation for mild andasymptomatic cases and to disseminate the factual information to the community at large.
The Prime Minister said that a meeting with Chief Ministers of States should be convened to discuss state-specific scenarios, best practices and the public health response.
He emphasized the need to ensure continuity of non-Covid health services while managing Covid cases. He also spoke about the need to leverage telemedicine to ensure availability of health related guidance to people in remote and rural areas.
While conveying his gratitude for the relentless services provided by healthcare workers in managing Covid-19 so far, he suggested to ensure that the vaccination coverage through precaution dose for healthcare workers, front line workers should also be taken up in mission mode.
Modi also spoke about the importance of continuous scientific research in testing , vaccines and pharmacological interventions including genome sequencing, given that the virus is evolving continuously.
Minister of State for Health Bharati Pawar, NITI Aayog Member V K Paul, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla and other senior officials were also present at the meeting.