New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (November 27) chaired a meeting with top officials on Covid-19 and said we need to be proactive in light of the new variant while emphasizing the precautions to contain the virus.
PM Modi was briefed about the Covid-19 situation worldwide, including the new Variant of Concern 'Omicron' and its characteristics and impact in various countries, as per the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
He further highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified 'at risk'. PM Modi also asked officials to review plans for easing international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence.
The Prime Minister also directed officials to work closely with state governments to ensure proper awareness at the state and district level. He directed that intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases and required technical support be provided to states reporting higher cases presently.
PM Modi also asked that awareness needs to be created about ventilation and the air-borne behaviour of the virus.
Amid rising concern about a new COVID-19 variant, 'Omicron' first detected in South Africa, India also added several countries to the list from where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing for infection.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare adds Hong Kong and Israel to the list of countries where travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India, including post-arrival testing considering the detection of the new COVID variant 'Omicron' in South Africa.
Countries where the travellers would need to follow additional measures on arrival in India are South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Israel, Hong Kong, countries in Europe including the UK.
This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations and has serious public health implications for the country, given recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel.