Amid surge in Covid-19 cases in China and other countries, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will review the Indian Covid-19 situation on Wednesday, according to official sources.
Cases are rising fast in China where the healthcare system is being overwhelmed. There has also been a spurt of Covid-19 cases in Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and the United States. In view of such a situation abroad, the Union Health Ministry in a letter also urged all states and Union territories (UTs) to increase the genome sequencing of positive samples to keep track of emerging coronavirus variants.
Official sources told PTI that Mandaviya will review the Covid-19 situation at 11:30 am on Wednesday "considering the international scenario".
The secretaries of health ministry, Ayush ministry, 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 and other senior officials will attend the meeting.
Meanwhile, in the letter cited above, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said such improved genome sequencing will enable timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country and will facilitate undertaking of requisite public health measures. He highlighted that India with its focus on the five-fold strategy of test-track-treat-vaccination and adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour has been able to restrict the transmission of the coronavirus and is having around 1,200 cases on a weekly basis.
Public health challenge of Covid-19 still persists around the world with around 35 lakh cases being reported weekly, Bhushan said.
"In view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, United States of America, Republic of Korea, Brazil and China, it is essential to gear up the whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network," he said.
"In this context, 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 Laboratories that are mapped to states and UTs," he added.
(With PTI inputs)