A fresh Covid outbreak in China has rung alarm bells in India. The Centre has outlined a series of preparatory steps and the government is taking preparatory steps that include stepping up genome sequencing to watch out for a new variant.
The government has said that samples of all Covid positive cases should be sent every day to INSACOG genome sequencing labs mapped with all states and Union Territories.
“ln view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in Japan, United States of America, Republic of Korea, Brazil and China, it is essential to gear up the whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants,” read the letter from Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to all states.
“Such an exercise will enable timely detection of newer variants, if any, circulating in the country and will facilitate undertaking of requisite public health measures for the same,” Bhushan wrote.
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya will hold a review meeting with top officials and experts tomorrow on the Covid-19 situation in India, sources said.
The country has logged 112 fresh infections over the last 24 hours — down from Monday’s 181 — and the number of active cases is 3,490, shows data from the Union Health Ministry. Three deaths were recorded over the last 24 hours, two from Kerala and one from Maharashtra — taking the total to 5,30,677.
According to the ministry’s website, around 220 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been administered so far under the nationwide vaccination drive.
China is struggling to contain a Covid wave that started after the government’s sudden decision to lift years of lockdowns, quarantines and mass testing. Hospitals were brought to their knees as pharmacies ran out of medicine. Crematoriums are working overtime.
Chinese authorities say it is impossible to track the progress of the virus, reported news agency AFP. Local authorities in Beijing reported just five deaths from Covid on Tuesday — up from Monday’s two.
Beijing health officials said only those who had directly died of respiratory failure caused by the virus would be counted under Covid death statistics. In cases of Omicron, most deaths take place from post-Covid complications.
The US State Department has said the surge in China is a matter of international concern. “The toll of the virus is of concern to the rest of the world given the size of China’s GDP (gross domestic product), given the size of China’s economy,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price.
With inputs from NDTV