Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not made face masks mandatory but recommended after holding a review meeting on Covid amid the surge in China today. He also highlighted the need for increased surveillance, with a focus on genome sequencing and increased testing for Covid. Concerns have been lingering after India found four cases of the virus variant that wreaked havoc in China. One of the cases emerged as early as July, with others in September and November.
The government said there was no reason to panic. The patients have recovered after receiving treatment at home, the source said.
Prime Minister Modi, however, cautioned against complacency, saying states should ensure the operational readiness of hospital infrastructure – including oxygen cylinders, PSA factories, ventilators and human resources.
A subvariant of Omicron, BF.7 does not cause severe disease, but it spreads faster and can infect large numbers of people in a short period of time. The recovery rate is high, but the absolute number of deaths could be high if the transmission is greater than the earlier variant.
The BF.7 strain mainly causes congestion in the upper chest and around the throat. Fever, sore throat, runny nose and cough are other common symptoms. Some people may experience stomach-related symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Doctors recommend getting tested right away is important because it can help stop transmission by ensuring early decisions on isolation and resumption of medication.
In today’s meeting, Minister of Health and Member NITI Aayog gave a comprehensive presentation on the global Covid-19 situation, including the increase in cases in various countries.
The prime minister was told that cases in India have been steadily declining. Average daily cases fell to 153 – compared with a global figure of 590,000 over the past six weeks.
The Prime Minister also asked everyone to follow Covid-appropriate behavior at all times, especially in light of the upcoming festive season. Masks should be worn in crowded public places and precautions are encouraged, especially for vulnerable and elderly populations.
The meeting was attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah; Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar, NITI Aayog Chairman Dr VK Paul and others.