India reviews Covid situation amid China surge
Union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday chaired a meeting with senior officials and experts to review the Covid-19 situation in India. This comes amid reports of the sudden rise in Covid cases in China, Japan, US and Brazil among other countries.
According to Hong Kong Post, people in China are reporting countless cases of COVID-19 around them, despite the official count being around 2,000 a day.
Expressing concern over the spurt in Covid-19 cases in China, former Indian diplomat KP Fabian on Tuesday said, "over 60 per cent of China and 10 per cent of the world population is likely to be infected with Covid and millions may die."
He also spoke on China expecting a massive surge in coronavirus cases. "There are some reports. What will you say on China? Well, when you speak of 10 pc of the world population, which is about 8 billion, which means 10 pc is 800 million, which is a very big number," said the former diplomat.
Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar said the meeting has been convened to discuss the situation of Covid-19 in other countries and what needs to be done for India. The physical meeting commenced at 11:30 am on Wednesday.
"Yesterday guidelines were issued for doing genome sequencing," Pawar told media persons.
Among those attending the meeting include secretaries of health, Ayush, department of pharmaceuticals and department of biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Rajiv Bahl, Member (Health) of NITI Aayog V K Paul and National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) Chairman N L Arora, Secretary in Department of biotechnology Dr Rajesh Gokhale and MoHFW DGHS Dr Atul Goel.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a letter to States and Union Territories had said that in view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, USA, Korea, Brazil and China, it is essential to gear up whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network.
"All states are requested to ensure that as far as possible samples of all positive cases, on a daily basis, are sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) that are mapped to the States and UTs," said Union Health Secretary.
"Such an exercise will enable the timely detection of new variants. If any, circulating in the country and will facilitate the undertaking of requisite public health measures for the same," added Bhushan.
Amid the rising COVID cases in China, a top Indian health expert on Tuesday cautioned the people while asking them to keep a close vigil on the situation in the country.
However, health experts said that there is nothing to panic about as the country's system is "vigilant".
Adar Poonawala, CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII) - which manufactures the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine - also asked people not to panic because of India's "excellent vaccination coverage and track record".
At the same time, however, he also urged the people to adhere to the guidelines set by the Government of India and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Meanwhile, in Maharashtra today, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that to monitor the Covid situation in the state, the state government will form a committee/ task force in coordination with the Centre.