Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a high-level meeting to assess the Covid-19 and Influenza situation in the country at which he asked people to follow respiratory hygiene and to adhere to Covid appropriate behaviour in crowded public places.
Observing that the Covid-19 pandemic was far from over and there was a need to monitor its status across the country on a regular basis, he also emphasised the need to follow Covid guidelines, including wearing of masks in hospital premises by patients, health professionals and health workers. The PM stressed that wearing of masks was advisable when senior citizens and those with co-morbidities visit crowded areas.
He directed officials to enhance Whole Genome Sequencing of Positive Samples with the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories. This would support tracking of newer variants, if any, and timely response, he underlined.
The meeting reviewed the Covid-19 and Influenza situation in terms of preparedness of the health infrastructure and logistics, status of the vaccination campaign, emergence of new Covid-19 variants and Influenza types and their public health implications for the country. The meeting came in the backdrop of a spike in Influenza cases in the country and rise in Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks.
A comprehensive presentation was made covering the global Covid-19 situation, including the rising cases. The PM was briefed that India has been witnessing a slight rise in new cases with average daily cases reported as 888 and weekly positivity reported as 0.98% in the week ending 22 March. However, 1.08 lakh daily average cases have been reported globally during the same week.
The action taken on the directions given by the PM during the last Covid-19 review held on 22 December were also discussed. He was informed that the availability and prices of 20 main Covid Drugs, 12 other drugs, 8 buffer drugs and 1 influenza drug were being monitored. A mock drill was also conducted on 27 December in 22,000 hospitals, and many remedial measures were taken by hospitals thereafter.
The PM was apprised of the Influenza situation in the country, particularly with respect to the higher number of cases of H1N1 and H3N2 being noted in the last few months. Modi directed that effective monitoring of IRI/SARI cases, and testing for Influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and Adenovirus be followed up with states. Further, he stressed the need to ensure availability of required Drugs & Logistics for Influenza & Covid-19 across Health Facilities along with the availability of sufficient beds and health human resources.
He highlighted that the Covid-19 pandemic was far from over and there was a need to monitor the status across the country on a regular basis. He asked the officials to continue focusing on a 5-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination & Covid Appropriate Behaviour, enhance Lab Surveillance & testing of all Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases. Mock drills should be conducted regularly to ensure that hospitals were ready for all exigencies.