July 21, 2024
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A high-level meeting in Delhi to review newer Covid variants

A high level meeting was conducted in Delhi to review new variant of covid-19

A high level meeting was conducted in Delhi to review new variant of covid-19

A high-level meeting was held in Delhi in light of recent global reports regarding the identification of novel variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Dr. P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister with other key members, evaluated the current global and national COVID-19 scenario, the emergence of new variants, and their potential impact on public health.

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Present at the meeting were Dr. Vinod Paul, a member of NITI Aayog; Rajiv Gauba, the Cabinet Secretary; Amit Khare, an Advisor at the PMO; Sudhansh Pant, the Secretary of Health and Family Welfare; Rajiv Bahl, the Secretary of the Department of Health Research (DHR) and Director General of ICMR; Rajesh S. Gokhale, the Secretary of Biotechnology; and Punya Salila Srivastava, Additional Secretary to the Prime Minister.

The Secretary of Health delivered an overview of the global COVID-19 situation, discussing the emergence of novel variants like BA.2.86 (Pirola) and EG.5 (Eris), which have been identified worldwide. He emphasized that according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while EG.5 (Eris) has been detected in over 50 countries, and the BA.2.86 (Pirola) variant has been found in four countries.

Additionally, it was highlighted that over the past week, there were a total of 296,219 new cases of COVID-19 reported globally. Notably, India, representing almost 17% of the global population, reported a mere 223 cases, accounting for only 0.075% of the global new cases during this period. The Secretary underlined that the daily average of new COVID-19 cases in India has consistently remained below 50 across the entire country. Moreover, the nation has successfully maintained a weekly test positivity rate of less than 0.2%. The meeting also covered an overview of the genetic sequencing of various virus variants currently circulating within India.

Following thorough discussions, Dr. P.K. Mishra emphasized that although the COVID-19 situation in the country remains stable and the national healthcare system is well-prepared, it is imperative for individual states to monitor trends in Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) cases. He stressed the importance of sending an adequate number of samples for COVID-19 testing while concurrently enhancing Whole Genome Sequencing capabilities. Close vigilance of the emergence of new global variants was also underscored as a necessary step.

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