Amid concerns over new Covid-19 variant Omicron, the Central Government has asked all states and UTs to focus on intensive containment, active surveillance, enhanced testing, monitoring of hotspots, increased coverage of vaccination and augmentation of health infrastructure.
It has also listed a series of measures which states and UTs should undertake. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan stressed on rigorous surveillance of international passengers, ensuring prompt dispatch of samples for genome sequencing and strict enforcement of Covid-appropriate behaviour to effectively manage this ‘Variant of Concern’ (VoC).
The Central Government has already placed nations, where this VoC has been found, in the category of ‘at risk’ countries for additional follow-up measures of international travellers coming into lndia from these destinations.
Govt to review SOP on testing & surveillance of incoming international passengers, especially for those countries identified ‘at risk’ category: Union Home Ministry pic.twitter.com/X5mHStBXcG
— ANI (@ANI) November 28, 2021
“ln view of the possible threat that this VoC Omicron can pose to the nation, it is imperative that the intensive containment, active surveillance, increased coverage of vaccination and Covid- appropriate behaviour must be enforced in the field in a very proactive manner to effectively manage this VoC,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.
The Health Secretary said it was essential that the disease surveillance network in the country was geared up for rigorous follow-up of international travellers from all countries, especially those designated as ‘at risk’.
“ln the absence of sufficient testing, it is extremely difficult to determine the true level of infection spread. States must strengthen the testing infrastructure and strictly implement the testing guidelines,” he said.
Bhushan also stressed on continued monitoring of hotspots, the areas where recent cluster of positive cases have emerged.
“ln all such ‘hotspots’, saturation testing and sending of positive samples quickly for genome sequencing to designated INSACOG labs must be ensured in collaboration with Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of lndia, and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). States should keep a close check on the emerging trend of cases and the positivity in an area and quickly delineate hotspots for effective containment of COVID-19,” he said.