Amid a spike in influenza and COVID-19 cases in the country in the past two weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting and directed officials to enhance genome sequencing while also emphasizing on Covid-appropriate behaviour.
India has recorded 1,134 new coronavirus cases, while the active cases increased to 7,026, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Wednesday. The death toll climbed to 5,30,813 with five deaths. One death each has been reported in Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra while one fatality was reconciled by Kerala, the data updated at 8 am stated.
Modi chaired the meeting to assess the COVID-19 and influenza situation in the country in terms of preparedness of health infrastructure and logistics, status of the vaccination campaign, emergence of new COVID-19 variants and influenza types and their public health implications for the country, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.
This high-level review meeting comes in the backdrop of a spike in influenza cases in the country and rise of Covid cases in the past two weeks.
During the meeting, a comprehensive presentation was made covering the global Covid situation including the rising cases in India by Secretary, Health, Rajesh Bhushan.
The prime minister was briefed that India has been witnessing a slight rise in new cases with average daily cases reported as 888 and weekly positivity reported as 0.98 per cent in the week ending March 22. However, 1.08 lakh daily average cases have been reported globally during the same week.
The action taken on the directions given by Modi during the last Covid review held on December 22, 2022 was also briefed, the statement said.
He was informed that availability and prices of 20 main Covid drugs, 12 other drugs, eight buffer drugs and one influenza drug is being monitored.
A mock drill was also conducted on December 27, 2022 in 22,000 hospitals, and many remedial measures taken by hospitals thereafter.
The prime minister was apprised on the influenza situation in the country particularly with respect to higher number of cases of H1N1 and H3N2 being noted in last few months.
Modi directed officials to enhance whole genome sequencing of positive samples with the designated INSACOG genome sequencing laboratories. This will support tracking of newer variants, if any, and timely response, the PMO said.
The prime minister emphasized Covid-appropriate behaviour including wearing of masks in hospital premises by both patients, health professionals and health workers. He also stressed that wearing of masks is advisable when senior citizens and those with co-morbidities visit crowded areas, the statement said.