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Continuously Tracking Evolving Situation; Says Centre Amid Omicron Scare

A similar risk-based approach is being emphasised with the emergence of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 (B.1.1529) which has been classified as "Variant of Concern" by WHO.

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Amid the scare of the new COVID-19 variant- 'Omicron', the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday informed that the government has been continuously advising the States and Union Territories (UT) and various nodal agencies on focused public health responses which are revised based on emerging evidence.

A similar risk-based approach is being emphasised with the emergence of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 (B.1.1529) which has been classified as "Variant of Concern" by WHO.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the emerging situation and India's preparedness in terms of public health measures.

As per the official statement, the Union Health Secretary has advised States and UTs regarding testing, surveillance, monitoring of hotspots, augmentation of health infrastructure, genome sequencing, and enhancing public awareness. 

Meanwhile, the Home Secretary chaired a high-level review meeting amid the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting saw the attendance of various domain experts including Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Dr. Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Adviser to Prime Minister and senior officers from Health, Civil Aviation and other Ministries.

During the meeting, various preventive measures in place and those to be further strengthened were discussed. The review and update of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on testing and surveillance of incoming international passengers, especially for those countries identified in the ‘at risk’ category was discussed. 

The strengthening and intensification of genomic surveillance for variants through the INSACOG network was agreed upon with a focus on sampling and whole-genome sequencing of international passengers especially from those countries where the Omicron variant has been detected.

Airport Health Officials (APHOs) and Port Health Officials (PHOs) are to be sensitised for strict supervision of testing protocol at airports and ports.


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COVID-19 New variant centre Omicron