COVID-19: WHO tracking VOI XBB.1.5, six other corona variants under monitoring | DETAILS

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Image Source : PTI/Representational (File). COVID-19: WHO tracking VOI XBB.1.5, six other variants under surveillance | Description

COVID-19: The Center today (April 7) informed the States and Union Territories that currently the World Health Organization (WHO) is closely monitoring a variant of interest (VOI), XBB.1.5 and six other variants BQ.1, BA .2.75, CH.1.1, XBB, XBF and XBB.1.16.

During a review meeting on the COVID-19 situation, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya virtually interacted with Health Ministers of States and Union Territories and urged them to expedite vaccination of all eligible population, especially the elderly and vulnerable population groups advised to bring

highlighted that while Omicron and its sub-lineages remain the dominant variant, most of the assigned variants have little or no significant transmissibility, disease severity or immune defence. The prevalence of XBB.1.16 increased from 21.6 percent in February to 35.8 percent in March 2023. However, there was no evidence of an increase in hospitalizations or mortality.

It was also pointed out that while India has achieved more than 90 per cent coverage of primary immunization, the coverage of preventive doses is very low. In a meeting held virtually with state health ministers and principal and additional chief secretaries, Mandaviya called for expediting surveillance, testing and vaccination of influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) cases. And stressed on identifying emergency hotspots for sure. Preparation of hospital infrastructure.

Along with scaling up genome sequencing and whole genome sequencing of positive samples, he also stressed on creating awareness on how to follow COVID-appropriate behaviour. Mandaviya said that the Center and the States need to continue working in a collaborative spirit, as was done last time during the prevention and management of COVID-19.

Mock drill in hospitals on 10th, 11th April:

He also urged the state health ministers to conduct a mock drill of the infrastructure of all hospitals on April 10 and 11 and review health preparedness with the district administration and health officials on April 8 and 9.

Earlier on Wednesday (April 5), the Covid Empowerment Working Group also held a regular review meeting. The meeting was attended by Dr. VK Paul, Dr. Rajiv Behl, Director General, ICMR and other senior health officials. According to sources, it was a review meeting to know the status and preparedness of Kovid in the country.

Read also: Daily Covid cases in India cross 6000-mark, active tally stands at 28,303

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) also attended the meeting. “We need to be vigilant, but there is no need to worry,” Mandaviya said on the COVID-19 situation in the country. Currently, the number of hospitalizations in the sub-variant of Omicron running in the country has not increased “

Last month on March 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level meeting to review the Covid-related situation and public health preparedness in view of the recent spurt in coronavirus cases as well as influenza infections.

Five Fold Strategy:

PM Modi advised to focus on the five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination and COVID Appropriate Behavior, increase laboratory surveillance and test all severe acute respiratory illness cases. He also said that mock drills should be conducted regularly to ensure that the hospitals are prepared for all emergencies.

PM Modi directed officials to scale up whole genome sequencing of positive samples with designated INSACOG genome sequencing laboratories. “This will support tracking of new variants, if any, and timely response,” the PMO said.

(With IANS inputs)

Read also: As Covid cases rise in India, Nitish Kumar urges Center to provide fresh stock of vaccine

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