NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting on Thursday to review the situation related to COVID-19 in the country.
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Home Minister Amit Shah, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and top officials attended the virtual meeting.
Ahead of the meeting, in a statement in Lok Sabha, Minister Mandaviya asked states to remain alert and create awareness about wearing face masks and using hand sanitisers, especially in view of upcoming festivals and new year celebrations.
Official sources have said random sample testing will be done at airports for international passengers arriving from China and other countries. There has been a sudden spurt in Covid cases in China and some other countries.
Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday said states have been asked to focus on heightened surveillance within the community, undertake requisite control and containment measures, and ensure coverage of precaution doses for COVID-19 vaccination, amid a spurt of coronavirus cases in some parts of the world.
In a statement in both houses of Parliament, Mandaviya said two per cent random sampling of international travellers arriving at airports has already started from Thursday to minimise ingress of any new variant in the country.
“Our enemy is changing with time and we need to continue our collective fight against it with perseverance and determination,” he said.
The minister said India has been reporting 153 new cases daily on an average as against 5.87 lakh new cases being reported on a daily basis across the world.
He said the Ministry of Health was monitoring the situation on a regular basis and has proposed specific interventions to manage the ongoing challenge.
“In view of upcoming festivals and new year celebrations, states also need to focus on ensuring effective awareness within the community on adherence to Covid appropriate behavior which includes use of masks, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene practices, besides following physical distancing,” he said.
Mandaviya said the states should also ensure that the coverage of precaution doses for Covid vaccination should increase and required awareness for the same is undertaken within the community.
On Wednesday, NITI Aayog member (Health) V K Paul noted that only 27-28 per cent of India’s eligible population had taken the Covid precaution dose.
The health minister said states have also been advised to increase the whole genome sequencing of all positive cases for timely detection of newer variants, if any.
Mandaviya said India would continue to focus on strategic principles of ‘Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and adherence to Covid appropriate behavior’ for management of COVID-19.
The government is committed to undertake all required measures towards managing this ongoing pandemic, he said.
“I request support of all hon’ble Members of Parliament towards Government’s efforts and to help spread community awareness that the pandemic is still not over and we need to remain alert and undertake required precautions besides vaccination,” he said.
The minister said the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact health and livelihood of the world till date.
“Over the last three years, the continuously evolving nature of the virus has posed a threat to global health in a way that has impacted virtually every country,” he said.
“In the last few days, we have seen an increasing trajectory of COVID-19 cases across the world. India on the other hand has shown a continued decreasing trajectory of cases since last one year,” he said.
Mandaviya said a large number of cases are being reported in countries including Japan, the US, South Korea, France, Greece, Italy. There are also media reports of a high number of cases and deaths being reported from China since the last few days.