New COVID Strain LIVE | Health Secretary Reviews Preparedness To Deal With Omicron Variant

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Union Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan chaired a high-level meeting on Tuesday with officials from States and Union Territories to review COVID-19 public health response measures and preparedness amid reports of Omicron variant of COVID-19 in various countries.

“Indian Council of Medical Research, DG, Balram Bhargava said that that the ‘Omicron’ Variant doesn’t escape RTPCR and RAT,” stated an official release of the Health Ministry. “Hence, States were advised to ramp up testing for prompt and early identification of any cases. States were advised for target/prioritized testing of passengers from countries not “at-risk”, as part of the ramped-up testing by the states. Continued need for further vaccination coverage, adherence to COVID appropriate behaviour and need to avoid mass gatherings was stressed upon,” stated the release.

“Union Health Secretary advised States to not to let their guards down, and keep a strict vigil on the international passengers coming to the country through various airports, ports and land border crossings,” the release further stated.

A comprehensive policy on additional and booster doses for COVID-19 will be made public in the next two weeks by the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) of India, informed Dr N K Arora, India’s COVID-19 Task Force Chairman on Monday, news agency ANI reported.

As many as 6,990 new COVID-19 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of active cases to 1,00,543, informed the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday.

In the past 24 hours, the country reported 10,116 recoveries. This has taken the overall recoveries to 3,40,18,299. Currently, the recovery rate stands at 98.35 per cent, the highest since March 2020.

Meanwhile, over 123.25 (1,23,25,02,767) crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered so far under the Nationwide Vaccination Drive, the ministry said.

India on Monday issued revised guidelines for international travellers in wake of the new COVID-19 variant, the Omicron variant. The new guidelines require all travellers coming to India from ‘at-risk’ countries to mandatorily undergo COVID-19 testing at the airport on arrival irrespective of the vaccination status.

The WHO, on November 27, named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’.

COVID: Top Global Developments

– The World Health Organization has urged countries across the world not to impose travel bans on southern African countries due to the ongoing concerns over the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.

– Several nations, including the US, Britain, Germany, Singapore, Israel, France, Italy, Austria, Canada, Netherlands and Nepal were among those that have restricted air travel, from South Africa and nearby nations.

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