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Govt reviews COVID situation; advises people to mask up


STATE TIMES NEWS

New Delhi: In view of a sudden spurt in COVID cases in China and some other countries, the Union health minister on Wednesday reviewed the situation in the country and asked people to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks in crowded places, and get vaccinated.
“COVID is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation,” Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said.

Preparedness to tackle COVID in J&K reviewed
SRINAGAR: Secretary, Health and Medical Education, Bhupinder Kumar, on Wednesday convened a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation besides assessing department’s preparedness for early detection, isolation, testing and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases to contain outbreak of Corona variants, in the wake of alert issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
The meeting was attended by all Head of Departments of Health and Medical Education Department besides other concerned.
Secretary, while discussing strategies to tackle the pandemic, emphasized the need of ensuring a strict vigil over the situation besides keeping ready the infrastructure and requisite supplies to tackle with any such cases.
Secretary reviewed in detail the available infrastructure, machinery and equipments including the status of testing capacity, availability of COVID essential diagnostics, COVID drugs and Oxygen Generation Plants. Secretary instructed the Principal Government Medical College Jammu and Government Medical College Srinagar to ensure genome sequencing machines are installed and operationalized immediately in both the Medical Colleges to perform genome sequencing of all COVID positive cases. He also asked the Managing Director, JKMSCL, to ensure that the COVID drugs and diagnostics are arranged in adequate quantities. He directed the HoDs of Health and Medical Education Department to make assessment of their requirements immediately and sent the requisition for procurement to JKMSCL.

During the meeting, attended by experts and senior officials, the minister was briefed on the global COVID-19 situation and the domestic scenario, including the preparedness of all stakeholders.
Noting that only 27-28 per cent of India’s eligible population have taken the precaution dose of COVID-19, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul, after the meeting, said people should take the jab and also wear masks in crowded places.
Paul urged people not to panic and said that there was no change in the guidelines for international air travel so far.
“People should wear masks in crowded areas. Those with comorbidities and old should especially adhere to this,” Paul said. The government will again hold a meeting next week to monitor the situation.
Underlining the challenge posed by the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in some countries across the world such as China, Japan, South Korea, France and the United States, Mandaviya noted the importance of being prepared and remaining alert against new and emerging strains of COVID-19, especially in view of the upcoming festive season. He directed for strengthening of the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure the timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country.
This would facilitate the undertaking of appropriate public health measures. States/UTs have been requested to send samples of all COVID-19 positive cases to INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) on a daily basis, for sequencing, to track new variants, if any, a health ministry statement said.

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