Amid China Covid surge, Indians urged to ‘mask up, take booster dose’

New Delhi: Only 27-28 per cent of India’s eligible population have taken the precaution dose of Covid-19, NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr V K Paul said and advised people to take the jab and wear masks in crowded places.

He urged people not to panic and clarified that there was no change in the guidelines for international air travel so far.

“People should wear masks in crowded areas. Those who have comorbidities or are elderly should especially adhere to this,” Paul said.

Paul made the statements following a review meeting held by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya amid a surge in Covid cases globally, especially in China.

“In view of the rising cases of Covid-19 in some countries, I reviewed the situation with experts and officials today. Covid is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation,” Mandaviya said in a tweet.

The secretaries of health, department of Pharmaceutical, department of Biotechnology, Ayush, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director General Rajiv Bahl, Paul and National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) Chairman Dr N K Arora attended the meeting among others.

“In view of upcoming festivals and New Year celebrations, states also need to focus on ensuring effective awareness within the community on adherence to Covid appropriate behavior which includes use of masks, hand hygiene and respiratory hygiene practices, besides following physical distancing.”

–Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya

In view of the rise in cases in Japan, the US, Republic of Korea, Brazil and China, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday had urged all states and Union Territories to ramp up the whole genome sequencing of Covid positive samples to keep track of emerging variants.

In a letter to states and UTs, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said 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.

India reports 185 fresh Covid cases, 1 death

India reported a total 185 fresh Covid cases on December 22 in the last 24 hours, said the Union Health Ministry. In the same period, the country has recorded one Covid related death, taking the national toll to 5,30,681 as per the report.

Meanwhile, the active caseload of the country presently stands at 3,402 cases, accounting for 0.01 per cent of the country’s total positive cases. The recovery of 190 patients in the last 24 hours took the cumulative tally to 4,41,42,432. Consequently, India’s recovery rate stands at 98.80 per cent.

Also in the same period, a total of 1,17,538 tests were conducted across the country, increasing the overall tally to over 89.95 crore. As of Dec 22 morning, India’s Covid-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 220.02 crore.

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