WITH COVID-19 cases on the rise, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya in a meeting with experts and key officials on Thursday said that there was a need to monitor hospitalisation due to the viral infection or other influenza-like illnesses or severe acute respiratory infections.
He said there was a need to focus on districts reporting high case positivity and undertake adequate testing and surveillance to assess the spread of the infection and control it in a timely manner. India recorded 13,313 new cases over the last 24 hours with 6.5 lakh tests.
In addition to testing, the minister also said that there was a need to focus on whole genome sequencing of the virus to detect any mutations. All the mutations that are driving up the surge globally – BA.4, BA.5, and BA.2.12.1 – have been detected in small numbers in India as well through genome sequencing done by the national consortium INSACOG.
He said there was also a need to increase the uptake of booster doses in districts reporting increase in cases. “As there is adequate vaccine doses available, let there be no vaccine wastage while focusing on accelerating vaccination among the eligible and vulnerable groups,” he said.
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The government is currently running a door-to-door campaign to boost vaccination coverage, with a special focus on booster dose in those aged above 60 and the first and second dose in children aged between 12 and 17 years.
Joint Secretary (Health) Lav Agarwal made a presentation on the global trend in cases at the meeting, which was attended by Prinicpal Scientific Advisor Dr Ajay K Sood, Department of Biotechnology Secretary Dr Rajesh Gokhale and ICMR Director General Dr Balaram Bhargava among others.