Omicron Spread: Vaccinate adolescents in mission mode: PM Narendra Modi
– World Affairs SRS
The review meeting, held to take stock of the country’s Covid preparedness, took place on a day when India reported nearly 160,000 cases and the daily positivity rate crossed 10 per cent.
India has so far administered the first dose of the COVID vaccine to 31 per cent of adolescents aged 15-18 years within seven days. The Prime Minister said that non-Covid health services should not be disrupted when COVID cases are on the rise.
“Take advantage of telemedicine to ensure availability of healthcare guidance to people in remote and rural areas,” he said. “Ensure effective use of masks and physical distancing measures as a new normal to control the spread,” Modi said.
Modi said there is a need for continued scientific research into tests, vaccines and pharmacological interventions, including genome sequencing, given that the virus was constantly evolving.
He asked the officials to hold a meeting with chief ministers to discuss state-specific scenarios, best practices and public health response.
Delhi recorded 22,751 cases on Sunday and the positivity rate stood at over 23 per cent. Mumbai saw a slight drop with 19,474 cases in a single day.
Modi also said that vaccination coverage through precautionary doses, which becomes available to health care workers and frontline workers from Monday, should also be taken up in a mission mode. They were apprised of the predicted scenarios of extreme cases in the current wave.
As Omicron’s cases see a rapid rise, around 400 staff members of parliament are reported to have tested positive in the past five days.
With only a few days left in the budget session, reports said 65 employees of the Rajya Sabha Secretariat, 200 of the Lok Sabha Secretariat and 133 employees of the allied services tested positive during January 4-8 during routine tests.
Four judges of the Supreme Court and about 5 per cent of the court staff have tested positive, according to a PTI report good.
Modi said intensive containment and active surveillance in clusters reporting high cases should continue and necessary technical assistance should be provided to states in such areas. Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will meet the state health ministers on Monday to take stock of the situation and preparedness of Kovid-19.
The Delhi government on Sunday said it does not plan to impose any lockdown if people wear masks and maintain social distancing. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the next action plan would be decided on Monday.
In Delhi, on May 7 last year, which fell during the second wave of the pandemic, 20,000 cases were reported with 341 deaths. Emphasizing on Omicron’s low virulence, Kejriwal said that on January 8, with similar cases, there were 17 deaths in the city.
On the same day, around 20,000 beds were occupied in Delhi, while on January 8 the number was 1,500.
With several Covid clusters developing in parts of Tamil Nadu, the state is likely to come up with new rules after a review meeting on Monday. Around 60,000 police officers were deployed in Tamil Nadu to properly enforce Sunday’s lockdown.
According to a news report, Karnataka Health Minister Sudhakar K said that the third wave is expected to peak in mid-February in the state. The number of Kovid cases in Karnataka increased by 12,000 on Sunday. More than 9,000 of them were in Bengaluru.
Inputs from Shine Jacob and Deepshekhar Choudhary
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