PMO holds review meeting on new Covid-19 variants; states asked to monitor influenza-like illness cases

The new Covid-19 variant EG.5 (Eris) has been reported in over 50 countries while cases of another variant BA.2.86 (Pirola) have been found in four countries. 
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

NEW DELHI: Citing the World Health Organization (WHO), Union Health Secretary Sudhansh Pant on Monday noted that the new Covid-19 variant EG.5 (Eris) has been reported in over 50 countries. He also said that another variant BA.2.86 (Pirola) has been reported in four countries. 

He was participating in a high-level review meeting convened by Prime Minister's Office. 

The meeting highlighted that while globally, a total of 2,96,219 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the past seven days, India, which contributes to nearly 17% of the global population, has reported only 223 cases (0.075% of global new cases) in the past week. 

Pant also informed the PMO that the daily average of new Covid-19 cases continues to be below 50 in the country.

“The country has managed to maintain weekly test positivity rate of less than 0.2%,” a statement issued by the union health ministry said.

The statement said an overview of the Genome Sequencing of different variants circulating in India was also provided. 

Dr PK Mishra, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who chaired the meeting, said after detailed deliberations, that while the Covid-19 situation in the country remains stable and public health systems in the country remain geared up, there is a need for states to monitor trends of ILI/SARI (influenza-like illness (ILI) and (severe acute respiratory infections) cases.

Mishra pointed out that states should be directed to send sufficient samples for testing Covid-19 while ramping up Whole Genome Sequencing and maintaining a close watch on the new global variants.

The meeting was attended by Dr Vinod Paul, NITI Aayog member; Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary; Amit Khare, Advisor PMO; Sudhansh Pant, Union Health Secretary; Rajiv Bahl, Secretary Department of Health Research (DHR) and DG Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR); Rajesh S. Gokhale, Union Biotechnology Secretary, and Punya Salila Srivastava, Additional Secretary to PM.

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