Principal Secretary to PM reviews Covid situation at high-level meeting

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New Delhi, Dec 31 (IANS) P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, on Saturday chaired a high-level meeting with senior government officials and experts to review the status of Covid-19 in the country and compliance of the directions issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a review meeting on December 22, said a source.

According to the source, Mishra was apprised of the evolving global scenario of the pandemic with spike in Covid cases observed in some countries including China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Brazil etc.

The Principal Secretary was informed that as per the directions of the Prime Minister, mock Covid drills were conducted at health facilities across the country on December 27.

All the states/UTs participated in the mock drill to ensure operational readiness of the Covid-dedicated facilities with specific focus on oxygen plants, ventilators, logistics & human resources etc. A total of 21,097 facilities conducted the mock drill, of which 16,108 were government facilities, said the source.

At the meeting, Mishra was also informed that as directed by the Prime Minister, detailed guidelines for 2 per cent random screening of international passengers on arrival were issued, and the process was initiated on December 24. As many as 1,716 international flights have been screened and 5,666 samples have been collected so far.

The guidelines for international arrivals were revised on December 29, under which from January 1, 2023, passengers arriving from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Japan have to mandatorily upload a negative RT-PCR report on the Air Suvidha portal. The test has to be conducted 72 hours prior to departure.

Monitoring of cases of SARI, ILI and similar diseases to identify early warning signals has started in the states, and a weekly report of the same is being sent to Union Health Ministry, said the source.

During the review meeting, it was informed that strengthening of whole genome sequencing (WGS) and ensuring that larger number of samples are sent from across the country to the INSACOG Network is being done, as per the directions of the Prime Minister.

Around 500 samples received during December are currently being genome sequenced at INSACOG labs across the country.

The meeting was informed that Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya held a meeting with the representatives of pharma companies and senior officials on December 29 to review the availability of medicines, and monitor their stocks and prices.

The pharma companies have been asked to keep a close watch on the global supply chain scenario, and ensure adequate stocks and availability of all drugs, including Covid medicines. The Ministry of Commerce has also been asked to monitor ongoing exports of medicinal products and equipment to China.

The source said that the status of Covid vaccination was reviewed by the officials and experts at the meeting. It was informed that more than 220 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been administered so far, including 102.56 crore first dose (97%) and 95.13 crore second dose (90%).



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