India Home Ministry holds Omicron review meet
Amid fears of B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant or Omicron, India’s Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla will hold a review meeting on Covid-19 with Union Territories (UTs) on December 16.
Sources in the Home Ministry told ANI that it is a "regular review meeting on Covid-19". The meeting will be held through video conferencing to review the Covid-19 situation in the UTs, steps to prevent the spread of the new variant of the deadly pandemic Omicron and the need to focus on some specific areas that might be the reason behind the threat of the further spread of the virus, the source said requesting anonymity. The meeting comes amid the rising concerns over the potentially more contagious coronavirus variant "Omicron” spreading to many countries.
Indian Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and other officials concerned belonging to the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare will take part in the meeting along with the officials in UTs.
In November last, the Health Secretary had held a similar review meeting with States and UTs on the recently identified Omicron variant of Covid-19 and advised them to increase testing for early identification and management of cases.
The States and the UTs then were asked to ensure adequate infrastructure and supervised home isolation, while underscoring that the new variant doesn't escape RT-PCR and RAT tests.
States and UTs were also advised to focus on intensive containment, active surveillance, enhanced testing, monitoring of hotspots, increased coverage of vaccination, and ensure augmentation of health infrastructure.
State and UTs were also asked to hold one or multiple meetings with health officials, Airport Health Organisations, the Bureau of Immigration, and other relevant agencies for smooth implementation of revised travel guidelines.
States and UTs were also advised not to let their guards down and maintain strict vigil on emerging clusters and hotspots for timely and effective management.
The B.1.1.529 Covid variant or Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa on November 26, was designated by the World Health Organisation as a “variant of concern”, the health body's top category for worrying coronavirus variants.