A review meeting on the COVID-19 crisis was presided over by PM Modi since the country is currently experiencing a new worry due to the appearance of a new variety called BF.7.
As a new scare grips the nation due to the introduction of a new variety, BF.7, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a review meeting on the COVID-19 issue. The meeting called to get ready for another potential pandemic wave included Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, and top specialists from the NITI Aayog and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
PM Modi also reviewed the steps being taken to address the new BF.7 COVID-19 version. Due to the fact that this variation is killing a lot of people in China, four cases of it have been discovered in India (three in Gujarat and one in Odisha). Online rumours regarding the XBB strain of the coronavirus are also being spread, but the Health Ministry has warned against listening to them or spreading them further.
Center and state-level initiatives
Witnessing the scare due to the new variant, the Gujarat government has made testing of travellers coming into the state mandatory and has notified the officials of the Health Department to stay alert. In Maharashtra, Deputy CM Devendra Fadnavis said that the government will form a task force to study the evolving situation. Moreover, Health Minister Mandaviya has also directed the states and Union Territories to ramp up the whole genome sequencing of positive samples of COVID-19 and keep track if any new variant emerges.
Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar also said that the state government will strictly monitor the airport movement and send the positive samples to the genomic centre to curb the virus spread. Underscoring that the pandemic is not over yet, Mandaviya also advised to wear masks and follow COVID-appropriate behaviour, especially in view of upcoming festivals and New Year celebrations. The Centre has also commenced random testing of 2% of foreign travellers landing at international airports.
Notably, the Serum Institute of India (SII) is seeking the Drug Controller General of India’s (DCGI) nod for its Covovax vaccine for those aged 18 years and above who have been administered two doses of Covishield or Covaxin. The drug regulator has currently approved Covovax for restricted emergency use in children aged 7 to 11 years.