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August 22, 2023 4:36 PM IST

High-level meeting conducted to review current COVID-19 situation

Covid cases globally | public health | Covid-19 | novel variants of Covid

Given the recent findings regarding the identification of novel variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide, a high-level meeting was convened by Dr. P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister. The meeting’s focus was to assess the global and national COVID-19 scenario, the emergence of new variants, and their potential public health implications.

An overview of the global COVID-19 situation was given by Secretary (Health) including certain newer variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus like BA.2.86 (Pirola) and EG.5 (Eris), which have been reported globally. He underlined that as per World Health Organization (WHO), while EG.5 (Eris) has been reported from over 50 countries, the variant BA.2.86 (Pirola) is in four countries.

The meeting underscored that in the preceding 7 days, there were 296,219 new instances of COVID-19 across the world. Despite India accounting for approximately 17% of the global population, it recorded only 223 cases during that same week, which constitutes a mere 0.075% of the global new cases.

The average daily count of fresh COVID-19 cases remains below 50 for the entire nation, and the weekly test positivity rate has consistently stayed below 0.2%. Additionally, an outline of the Genome Sequencing of various circulating variants in India was presented. According to the Health Ministry, the total caseload is stood at 1470, while the total number of tests done during the previous day is 33,785.

Following thorough discussions, Dr. P. K. Mishra emphasized that although the COVID-19 situation within the nation is currently steady and the public health infrastructure is well-prepared, it is important for individual states to closely observe trends in r Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Infections (SARI) cases. Simultaneously, they should increase the submission of samples for Covid-19 testing, enhance Whole Genome Sequencing efforts, and vigilantly monitor the emergence of new global variants.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary, Amit Khare, Advisor PMO, Sudhansh Pant, Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Punya Salila Srivastava, Additional Secretary to PM among others.

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