Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases in China and some other parts of the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday cautioned people against complacency and advised states to ensure operational readiness of hospital infrastructure.
The comments came during a high-level meeting chaired by the PM to assess the Covid situation in the country – the preparedness of health infrastructure and logistics, the status of the vaccination campaign, and the emergence of new Covid-19 variants and their public health implications for the country.
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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 also emphasised the need for strengthened surveillance with a focus on genome sequencing and increased testing and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour, including wearing a mask, and stressed the administering of the precautionary dose vaccination for the elderly and vulnerable population groups.
The PM was briefed that India has seen a steady decline in cases with average daily cases falling to 153 and the weekly positivity down to 0.14% in the week ended December 22.
Reiterating that Covid-19 is not over yet, he directed officials across the country to strengthen ongoing surveillance measures, especially at international airports.
States have been asked to share a larger number of samples with the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories for daily genome sequencing to ensure timely detection of newer variants.
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Meanwhile, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya told Parliament on Thursday that 90% of the eligible population in the country has been administered two doses of Covid-19 vaccines with a total of 220.02 crore doses administered across the country. This also included 22.35 crore precautionary doses. States have been told to increase the coverage of precautionary doses for Covid-19 vaccination, he added.
The health minister further said there was an increasing trajectory of Covid-19 cases across the world, but India has shown a continued decreasing trajectory in the last one year. “Currently, 153 new cases on an average are being reported daily across the country, but globally approximately 587,000 new cases are still being reported on an average on a daily basis,” he said.
A large number of cases are being reported in countries, including Japan, the US, South Korea, France, Greece, and Italy. A high number of cases and deaths from China have also been reported in the last few days, Mandaviya added.