Use masks, encourage precaution dose: Modi
NEW DELHI, Dec 23
Amid rising Covid-19 cases in China and some other countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday cautioned against complacency and directed officials to strengthen surveillance measures, especially at international airports.
Modi, who chaired a high-level meeting to review the Covid situation in the country, also urged people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks in crowded public places, especially in view of the upcoming festive season. He emphasised the need to encourage people to take the precaution (third) dose, especially the vulnerable and elderly groups.
While over 90% of eligible beneficiaries have received the first two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, the coverage of the precaution dose, which began earlier this year, has remained low. In a statement in Parliament on Thursday, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said only over 25% of eligible beneficiaries had got the third dose. He said the States were being advised to increase community vigilance and create awareness about the precaution dose.
Mandaviya also told Parliament that officials had restarted random testing of international passengers on arrival. The practice was stopped in November-end after a revision in travel advisories.
Meanwhile, in a communication to the Civil Aviation Ministry, the Health Ministry asked it to ensure random Covid testing of 2% of passengers arriving in international flights from December 24. The travellers for random testing will be identified by the airlines concerned and will preferably be from different countries, it said.
The passengers will be allowed to leave the airport after giving the sample, the Health Ministry said. The reports will be shared with the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme and any positive sample will be sent to INSACOG genome sequencing labs, it said.
This was Modi’s first Covid review meeting since April, when a slight uptick in cases was seen after the Omicron wave subsided.
The Indian Express