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Amid detection of new Covid variants, PMO calls for regular monitoring

WHO designates ‘Eris’ Covid strain ‘variant of interest’ as cases rise globally. Image Source: IANS News

New Delhi, Aug 21 : Amid the detection of certain new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus reported globally, senior officials of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Monday held a review meeting to take stock of the situation.

P.K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, chaired a high-level meeting to review the global and national Covid situation, newer variants in circulation and their public health impact.

It was highlighted that while globally a total of 2,96,219 new cases of Covid were reported in the past seven days, India, which contributes to nearly 17 per cent of global population, reported only 223 cases (0.075 per cent of global new cases) in the past week.

It was informed that the daily average of new cases continues to be below 50 from the entire country, with a weekly test positivity rate of less than 0.2 per cent.

An overview of the Genome sequencing of different variants circulating in India was also provided.

After detailed deliberations, Mishra highlighted that while the Covid situation in the country remains stable and public health systems in the country remain geared up, there is need for the states to monitor trends of ILI/SARI cases, send sufficient samples for testing while ramping up Genome sequencing and maintaining close watch on the new global variants.

An overview of the global Covid situation was given by the Health Secretary, including certain newer variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus like BA.2.86 (Pirola) and EG.5 (Eris), which have been reported globally.

He underlined that as per the World Health Organization (WHO), while EG.5 (Eris) has been reported from over 50 countries, the variant BA.2.86 (Pirola) has been reported from four countries.

The meeting was attended by Vinod Paul, Member, Niti Aayog; Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary; Amit Khare, Advisor to PMO; Sudhansh Pant, Health Secretary, and other senior officials.

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