New Delhi: Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday asked the public not to panic about COVID-19, but be alert and follow the directives issued by the government from time to time. He further said COVID-19 variants will keep coming but the important thing is which variant will react and people should only believe information shared by government sources to avoid any kind of panic in the country.
The Health Minister said that the government is alert and making all preparations. Meanwhile, in India eleven types of COVID-19 Omicron Sub-variants were detected during testing of international passengers at airports and seaports between December 24 to January 3, official sources have said.
A total of 19,227 samples of international travelers were tested, out of which 124 were found positive and were isolated, the sources said. “Of the 124 positive samples, genome sequencing results of 40 were received of which XBB including XBB.1 was found in a maximum of 14 samples. BF 7.4.1 has been found in one sample,” as per official sources.
The other variants that are reported after samples from these international travelers are BA.5.2, BQ.1.1, BQ. 1.1(22), BQ.1.1.5, CH.1.1, CH.1.1.1, BB.3, BN.1.2, BN1.3, BY1 and BF. The sources further said that all these variants are already present in the country.
India saw a slight increase in COVID infections on Thursday as it witnessed 188 new cases in the last 24 hours according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The country recorded 175 new cases on Wednesday.
According to the MoHFW, India’s active caseload currently stands at 2,554 with the active case rate at 0.01 per cent.
The country’s recovery rate also stood at 98.8 per cent as it saw 201 recoveries in the last 24 hours which took the total recoveries to 4,41,46,055.
The Health Ministry further said that the country’s daily positivity rate and weekly positivity rate stand at 0.10 and 0.12 per cent, respectively.
Under the National Vaccination Drive against the COVID-19, the Health Ministry said that a total of 220.12 crore Vaccine doses (95.13 cr Second dose and 22.42 cr Precautions) have been administered so far, of which 61,828 doses were jabbed in the last 24 hours.
It also said that a total of 1,93,051 Covid tests were conducted in the last 24 hours, with which the number of COVID tests conducted in the country rose to 91.15 crores.
As there have been reports of a surge in COVID cases in some countries, the operational readiness of health facilities is being reviewed in all states and Union Territories in case of another wave. A recent surge has been observed in COVID cases across the world, because of the BF.7 variant which is believed to be the major factor behind the surge including in countries like China and the US.
Looking at the data, submitted by China which shows Omicron subvariants BA.5.2 and BF.7 are predominant that are accounting for 97.5 percent of all local infections, the world health organization (WHO) in an official statement said that they will continue to closely monitor the situation in the People’s Republic of China and globally and urged all the countries to continue to be vigilant, to monitor and report sequences, as well as to conduct independent and comparative Analyzes of the different Omicron sublineages, including on the severity of disease they cause.
Now mandatory pre-departure RT-PCR testing has been introduced for passengers arriving in India on all international flights from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Thailand and Japan. The test has to be conducted within 72 hours prior to undertaking the journey, said the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a press release issued on January 2, 2023.
The ministry release issued by Lav Agarwal, additional secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said the ministry has decided to revise and update its existing guidelines for International Arrivals in view of the rising COVID cases in the above-mentioned countries.
It said that the Ministry of Civil Aviation’s Air Suvidha Portal has to be made operational for passengers on all international flights from these countries, with a provision to allow international travelers arriving in India to submit negative RT-PCR test reports as well as to submit self Declaration form on this portal.