PM Narendra Modi on Saturday will chair a meeting with top government officials on the COVID-19 situation and vaccination. The meeting will take place at 10:30 am today.
It comes amid concerns caused over the emergence of a new variant of coronavirus – the Omicron. The strain has already been categorised as ‘variant of concern’ by the World Health Organization (WHO).
This would be the second such meeting by Modi in the month. Earlier on November 3, he met with the officials of districts where the vaccination coverage was low and the respective chief ministers.
Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, principal secretary to PM PK Mishra, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul are scheduled to attend the meeting, according to news agency ANI.
The meeting comes as India crossed the 1.21 billion doses mark on Saturday, according to Union ministry of health and family welfare. As many as 1,210,658,262 doses of the vaccine have been administered to eligible beneficiaries, as of 8am on the day.
On Saturday, 8,318 fresh cases of Covid-19 and 465 related fatalities were reported across the country. With this, the total confirmed infections so far reached 34,563,749 and the death toll climbed to 467,933, the ministry’s dashboard showed. Active caseload fell by 3,114 cases and stood at 107,019. Meanwhile, 969,354 samples were tested for the disease in the last 24 hours, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said and so far, 638,247,889 samples have been tested.
As far as restriction measures regarding the new omicron variant is concerned, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to states and Union territories on November 25 warning of the new variant and asked for passengers from or transiting through the countries where the cases are detected be tested rigorously.
“It is imperative that all international travellers travelling from and transiting through these countries and also including all other ‘at risk’ countries are subjected to rigorous screening and testing. The contacts of these international travellers must also be closely tracked and tested,” Bhushan said in his letter.
“This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations and thus has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel,” he further warned.
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