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Omicron scare in India: Union health ministry holds review meeting with States, UTs

Though India has not reported any case of the new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, the government has become more alert in taking preventive measures. On Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan conducted a meeting with top health officials of all the States and Union Territories of the country and recommended some special measures to avert the transmission of the variant.

During the meeting, Rajesh Bhushan said that timely diagnose of the new variant will play a key role in controlling its spread. He suggested that states and UTs should increase the investigation at the domestic and international borders.
“Keep a strict vigil on international passengers visiting India through various airports, ports and land border crossing”, the secretary said.

The health secretary also asked the states to set up more containment zones and increase surveillance at every level. In addition, states have been advised to increase surveillance of hotspot areas and strengthen health infrastructure, including arranging medical oxygen and reserving ventilator and isolation beds for the patients.

Meanwhile, he also asked the officials to speed up the anti-covid vaccination drive.

A couple of days back, Rajesh Bhushan had written a letter to all the states and Union Territories, instructing them to carry out intensive prevention, increase surveillance measures and to speed up covid vaccination drive.

Meanwhile, “no case of Omicron Covid-19 variant has been reported in India so far”, clarified Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in the Rajya Sabha during Parliament’s Winter Session on Tuesday.

The union government is also focusing on checking the suspicious cases, especially those reaching India from foreign countries, and conducting its genome sequencing for checking its variants.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the risk related to Omicron – the new variant of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) – is “very high”. The global health body said that the B.1.1.529 strain, first found in South Africa, is “highly divergent” and likely to spread internationally at a very high speed and could possibly have “severe consequences.

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