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Tests on at international airports, says Health Minister, with ‘eye on global Covid situation’

Minister Mansukh Mandaviya says states have been advised to enforce Covid protocols, increase genome-sequencing to catch the new variant on time.

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New Delhi: The government has started randomly testing travellers who land in India’s international airport, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya informed Lok Sabha Thursday, as a fresh wave of the pandemic swept through neighbouring China.

“We are committed to tackling the pandemic and are taking appropriate steps,” Mandaviya told the House.

He also said that Covid cases were rising in the world, but depleting in India. “The health department has been quite proactive in managing the Covid-19 pandemic. The central government has provided financial assistance to states to fight the pandemic. So far, 220 crore Covid vaccine shots have been given,” he told the House.

Mandaviya said the Centre has advised states to make sure citizens wore masks, used sanitisers and maintained social distance during the upcoming festive week. He also said states must fan awareness about the necessity of precautionary doses.

The minister has further asked state administrations to increase genome-sequencing in order to identify the new Covid variant on time.

“We are keeping an eye on the global Covid situation and taking steps accordingly,” Mandaviya added.

The central government on Wednesday advised people to mask up in crowded places and also decided to hold weekly meetings to monitor the situation, following an explosion of Covid cases in China, Brazil and other countries.

After chairing a meeting with top officials on the situation, Mansukh Mandaviya had tweeted, “Covid is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation.”

On Thursday, the country’s top medical body – Indian Medical Association (IMA) – also listed a set of do’s and don’ts to stop another Covid wave, including asking people not to go abroad.

The IMA said: “In view of the sudden surge of Covid cases in different countries, Indian Medical Association alerts and appeals to the public to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour with immediate effect. As per the available reports, nearly 5.37 lakhs new cases have been reported in the last 24 hours from major countries like the USA, Japan, South Korea, France, and Brazil. India has reported 145 new cases in the last 24 hours, out of which four cases are the new China variant — BF.7.”

The IMA also asked the government to spruce up preparedness “for any such situation as seen in 2021”, and instruct all concerned to be equipped with emergency medicines, oxygen supplies, ambulances, etc.

Also read: 2% international travellers to be randomly tested for Covid-19, says health minister Mandaviya


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