Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday, directed officials to step up on the genome sequencing of positive Covid samples with designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories, as this is expected to support the tracking of newer variants, if any, and will also ensure frame timely response.

During a high level-review meeting on Covid and influenza situation in the country, the Prime Minister also emphasized on Covid-appropriate behaviour that includes wearing of masks in hospitals by patients, health professionals and health workers.

Senior citizens and those with comorbidities have also been advised to wear masks when they visit crowded areas.

Modi also directed that effective monitoring of IRI/SARI cases, and testing for influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and Adenovirus be followed up with the States.

“Further, Prime Minister stressed the need to ensure availability of required drugs and logistics for influenza and Covid across health facilities, along with availability of sufficient beds and health human resources,” said a statement from the Centre.

Another suggestion at the review meeting included carrying out mock drills in hospitals to ensure preparedness.

Rising Covid, Influenza cases

The high-level meeting comes in the back drop of rising instances of Covid cases and a spike in influenza cases across the country over the last few weeks.

On Wednesday, India reported 1134 new Covid cases on a 24-hour basis, with active cases rising to 7,026. Five deaths were reported, with one each reported by Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra and one reconciled by Kerala, data from the Union Health Ministry said. Daily positivity rate was recorded at 1.09 per cent while the weekly positivity was pegged at 0.98 per cent.

India has been witnessing a slight rise in new cases with average daily cases reported as 888 and weekly positivity reported as 0.98 per cent in the week ending March 22 . However, 1.08 lakh daily average cases have been reported globally during the same week

A comprehensive presentation was made covering the global Covid-19 situation including the rising cases in India.

Far from over

Pointing out that Covid was far from over, the Prime Minister also advised on the need to focus on a five-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination & Covid Appropriate Behaviour. This apart from enhanced lab surveillance and testing of all Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases.

Following respiratory hygiene was also stressed upon .

The meeting was attended by PK Mishra, Principal Secretary to PM, VK Paul, Member (Health) NITI Aayog; Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary; along with other senior officials.