Highlights:

  • PM Modi chaired a high-level meeting today, which lasted for nearly two hours
  • PM Modi emphasized the need to be proactive in light of the new variant
  • All officials are instructed to work closely with state governments to ensure that there is proper awareness at the state and district level

In view of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked officials to review plans to ease restrictions on international travel. He chaired a high-level meeting today, which lasted for nearly two hours. In the meeting, the officials reviewed and monitored the public health preparedness and vaccination-related situation for Covid-19 in the country.

Addressing the officials, PM Modi emphasized the need to be proactive in light of the new variant. He warned the people and requested them to be more cautious and follow the COVID protocols such as wearing masks, and social distancing. “All international arrivals need to be carefully monitored and there should be rigorous screening and testing,” he added.

In the meeting, PM Modi instructed officials to work closely with state governments to ensure that there is proper awareness at the state and district level. He directed that intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases and required technical support be provided to states which are reporting higher cases presently.

PM Modi was also briefed about the global trends on Covid-19 infections and cases as he reviewed the national situation relating to the infections and test positivity rates. The review meeting was conducted in view of the rising concern over the Omicron variant first found in South Africa. Experts said that the variant has a high number of mutations, and is more resistant to vaccines.

Reportedly, India added several countries to the list from where travelers would need to follow additional measures on arrival, including post-arrival testing for infection. COVID-19 cases with the Omicron variant, have already been identified in Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel, and Belgium. Several countries including, the US, the EU, Thailand, and Australia have already banned flights coming from South African countries or, Omicron-affected areas.

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