Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday chaired a high-level meeting to assess the Covid-19 situation in the country, preparedness of health infrastructure and logistics, status of the ongoing vaccination campaign, and the emergence of the Omicron variant and its public health implications.
The meeting was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, and other officials through video conference.
A detailed presentation highlighting the surge in cases currently being reported globally was given by Secretary Health and 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 upcoming challenge were highlighted. Various predictive scenarios of peak cases were also presented, said the government in a statement.
The support to the states to upgrade health infrastructure, testing capacity, availability of oxygen and ICU beds, and buffer stock of Covid-19 essential drugs under Emergency Covid Response Package (ECRP-II) was presented. The Prime Minister stressed the need to ensure adequate health infrastructure at the district level and asked officials to maintain co-ordination regarding this with the states.
The presentation brought attention to India’s consistent efforts towards the vaccination campaign, with 31 per cent adolescents aged 15-18 years having been administered with the first dose so far within seven days. The Prime Minister noted this achievement and urged to further accelerate the vaccine drive for adolescents in mission mode.
After detailed discussion, PM Modi directed that intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases and required technical support be provided to states which are reporting higher cases presently, said the PMO in the statement, adding that he also highlighted the need to ensure effective usage of masks and physical distancing measures as a new normal to control the spread.
PM Modi further exhorted the need for effective implementation of home isolation for mild/asymptomatic cases and to disseminate the factual information to the community at large. He said that a meeting with Chief Ministers be convened to discuss state-specific scenarios, best-practices and the public health response.
PM Modi also expressed gratitude for the relentless services provided by healthcare workers in managing Covid-19 and suggested to ensure that the vaccination coverage through precaution dose for healthcare workers, front line workers should also be taken up in mission mode.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the importance for continuous scientific research in testing, vaccines and pharmacological interventions including genome sequencing given that the virus is evolving continuously.
Meanwhile, Mandaviya is set to hold a meeting on Monday with the state health ministers to discuss the Covid-19 situation. The meeting will take place at 3:30 pm and be attended by health ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Daman, and Diu.
This comes amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country. India reported 1,59,632 new coronavirus cases, the highest in 224 days, as per Union health ministry data on Sunday. The daily positivity rate in the country jumped to 10.21 percent as in India while the active cases have risen to 5,90,611, the highest in around 197 days. The tally of the Omicron variant has reached 3,623 in the country. Out of the total 3,623 Omicron cases, Maharashtra logged the highest with 1,009 cases, followed by Delhi with 513 and Karnataka with 441 cases.