India steps up efforts to prepare any eventuality as Covid cases rise in China: Surveillance at airports may be tightened
Thursday 22 December 2022 7:52 AM UTC
NEW DELHI Dec 21: Amid the burst of Covid-19 cases in China, India has stepped up efforts to prepare for any eventuality. The Health Ministry has asked all states to increase genome sequencing of positive cases through the INSACOG network in order to understand which new coronavirus variants might be circulating.
“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 through…INSACOG network,” Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in the letter to all states.
⚠️THERMONUCLEAR BAD—Hospitals completely overwhelmed in China ever since restrictions dropped. Epidemiologist estimate >60% of 🇨🇳 & 10% of Earth’s population likely infected over next 90 days. Deaths likely in the millions—plural. This is just the start—🧵pic.twitter.com/VAEvF0ALg9
“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,” Mr Bhushan said.
All positive case samples should be sent every day to INSACOG genome sequencing labs mapped with all states and Union Territories, the Centre said.
Genome sequencing is a crucial aspect of keeping a tab on the situation and that the system is “vigilant”.
The Centre on Tuesday formally asked states to step up analysis of positive Covid-19 cases to detect new coronavirus variants, and officials aware of the matter separately said that testing and surveillance at airports could be tightened, as the government moved to deal with potential fallout from a spiralling wave in China.
There are also calls for flights from China to be stopped or restrictions put in place.
The communique sent by the Union health ministry noted the outbreak in China as well as in several other countries to press for increased whole genome sequencing, the process that finds the exact variant an infected person caught.