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Centre reviews Covid situation amid rise in Covid cases in China. Key takeaways

Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya chairs a meeting with health officials over the Covid-19 situation (ANI)

The meeting was attended by secretaries of health and Ayush ministries, the Department of Pharmaceuticals and Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Rajiv Bahl, Member (Health) of NITI Aayog V K Paul and National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) Chairman N L Arora and other senior officials.

Meanwhile, the Centre has asked all states to ramp up surveillance for any new variants of Covid-19. A recent surge of infections in neighbouring China after it ended its strict Covid restrictions has led to concern that new variants could emerge.

While has reported the most Covid cases in the world after the US, the count of confirmed infections has fallen sharply in the past few months in the country.

At present, India is recording about 1,200 new infections a week. Globally some 3.5 million cases are being recorded every week.

The union health ministry has requested all states and union territories to send the sample of coronavirus positive cases to INSACOG labs to track new variants. The government has asked all states to ensure that samples of all positive cases are sent to the 54 designated genome sequencing laboratories.

Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that infections have inched up in Japan, Korea, the United States, France, and Brazil in recent days.

Meanwhile, Apollo Hospitals Managing Director Dr Sangita Reddy cautioned the government to act swiftly on policy regarding air travel to and from China.

Congress leader Manish Tiwari also demanded that flights to and from China should be stopped.

"Covid situation becoming serious in World. We can see what's happening in China, their health system is under strain. I demanded that flights to & from China should be stopped. It's a matter of concern the way Covid cases are rising in other countries," Tiwari told ANI news agency.

Whereas, Adar Poonawalla, the CEO and founder of Serum Institute of India, said in a tweet that though news coming out of China is concerning, “we need not panic given our excellent vaccination coverage and track record. We must continue to trust and follow the guidelines set by the Government of India."

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said that the state will form a committee or a task force in coordination with the Centre to monitor the Covid situation.

Karnataka Health Minister said the state will monitor the airport and send the Covid-19 positive cases to INSACOG for the analysis of the strain.

"Indians are safe. Our 100% population has taken a double dose of vaccine. I appeal to people to take booster doses also. We will monitor at the airport and try to send all positive cases to INSACOG to know what kind of strains are being witnessed," K Sudhakar said.

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