Tue, 31 Jan 2023

By Shalini BhardwajNew Delhi [India], December 31 (ANI): Principal Secretary to PM Dr P K Mishra chaired a high-level meeting with senior government officials and experts to review the status of Covid-19 in the country and compliance, official sources said on Saturday.

The meeting was held on directives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi issued during a high-level review meeting on December 22, 2022, they said.

During the high-level review meeting on Covid19, it was stated that around 500 samples received during December 2022 are currently being genome sequenced by INSACOG Labs across the country.

Principal Secretary has been apprised of the evolving global scenario of the pandemic with spikes in COVID observed in some countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Brazil etc.

During the meeting, it was also informed that Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya chaired a virtual review meeting with Health Ministers of States on COVID-19 on December 23.

"The focus was on enhancing awareness about COVID-appropriate behaviour and strengthening surveillance including ramping up testing across the country and uptake of COVID-19 precautionary doses," sources said.

Mock drills were also conducted in all states/UTs on December 27 with a focus to ensure operational readiness of COVID-dedicated facilities with a specific focus on Oxygen Plants, Ventilators, and logistics and human resources.

"21,097 facilities conducted the Mock Drill, of which 16,108 were government facilities. Union Health Minister personally reviewed the preparedness at Safdurjung Hospital, New Delhi," they said.

As directed by the Prime Minister, detailed guidelines for random screening of international passengers on arrival were issued and 2 per cent random sampling was initiated from December 24, 2022.

As many as 1716 International Flights have been screened and 5666 samples collected for COVID-19 testing, sources said.

Guidelines for International Arrivals have also been revised on December 29, 2022, and from January 1, 2023, all International Arrivals from China, Singapore, Hongkong, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Japan will undergo mandatory pre-departure RT-PCR testing (to be conducted in 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey).

Air Suvidha Portal has been made operational with a provision to allow passengers to submit/upload negative RT-PCR test reports and submit self-declaration forms.

It was apprised that a detailed advisory on COVID-19 for states was issued on December 24, 2022. An advertisement was issued in national and regional papers for awareness regarding steps being taken for COVID management in states.

Monitoring of cases of SARI, ILI and similar diseases to identify early warning signals has started in states, and a weekly report for the same is being sent by states to Union Health Ministry.

During the review meeting, it was informed that strengthening whole genome sequencing (WGS) and ensuring that a larger number of samples are sent from across the country to INSACOG Network is being done.

Around 500 samples received during December 2022 are currently being genome sequenced by INSACOG Labs across the country, said sources.

It was informed that Union Health Minister held a meeting with representatives of pharma companies and senior officials to review and availability of medicines and monitor their stocks and prices on December 29, 2022. Pharma companies were asked to keep a close watch on the global supply chain scenario and to ensure adequate stocks and availability of all drugs including COVID drugs, official sources said.

They said that as per directions, the Ministry of Commerce has been asked to monitor ongoing exports of medicinal products and equipment to China. The status of COVID vaccination was also reviewed with officials and experts.

It was informed that more than 220 crore doses of COVID vaccine have been administered, of which 102.56 crore 1st doses (97%) and 95.13 crore 2nd doses (90%) have been given so far to the eligible beneficiaries, they said.

Experts present at the meeting discussed issues regarding the research of vaccines and their manufacturing in India.

Moreover, the advisory has been issued by AYUSH Ministry to encourage people to use AYUSH practices to strengthen their immunity and as a preventive measure as was done during earlier waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.

States/UTs requested the wide dissemination of AYUSH Advisories, guidelines and procurement and distribution of AYUSH kits, and funds available under the National AYUSH Mission, sources said. (ANI)

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