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PM chairs a high-level meeting to review status & preparedness of public health response to Covid-19 & Influenza

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting to assess the Covid-19 & Influenza situation in the country in terms of preparedness of health infrastructure & logistics, status of the vaccination campaign, emergence of new Covid-19 variants & Influenza types and their public health implications for the country. This high-level review meeting comes in the backdrop of a spike in Influenza cases in the country & rise of Covid-19 cases in the past 2 weeks.

A comprehensive presentation was made covering the global Covid-19 situation including the rising cases in India by Secretary, Health, MoHFW. The Prime Minister was briefed that India has been witnessing a slight rise in new cases with average daily cases reported as 888 and weekly positivity reported as 0.98% in the week ending 22nd Mar, 2023. However, 1.08 lakh daily average cases have been reported globally during the same week.

The action taken on the directions given by Prime Minister during the last Covid-19 review held on 22nd Dec 2022 were also briefed. He was informed that availability and prices of 20 main Covid Drugs, 12 other drugs, 8 buffer drugs and 1 influenza drug is being monitored. A mock drill was also conducted on 27th December 2022 in 22,000 hospitals, and many remedial measures taken by hospitals thereafter.

The Prime Minister was apprised on the Influenza situation in the country particularly with respect to higher number of cases of H1N1 and H3N2 being noted in last few months.

Prime Minister directed officials to enhance Whole Genome Sequencing of Positive Samples with the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories. This will support tracking of newer variants, if any, and timely response.

PM emphasized Covid appropriate behaviour including wearing of masks in hospital premises by both patients, health professionals and health workers. He also stressed that wearing of masks is advisable when senior citizens and those with co-morbidities visit crowded areas.

He directed that effective monitoring of IRI/SARI cases, and testing for Influenza, SARS-CoV-2 and Adenovirus be followed up with States. Further, Prime Minister stressed the need to ensure availability of required Drugs & Logistics for Influenza & Covid-19 across Health Facilities along with availability of sufficient beds & health human resources.

He highlighted that Covid-19 pandemic is far from over and there is a need to monitor the status across the country on regular basis. Prime Minister advised to continue focusing on 5-fold strategy of Test-Track-Treat-Vaccination & Covid Appropriate Behaviour, enhance Lab Surveillance & testing of all Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) cases. Mock drills should be conducted regularly to ensure that our hospitals are ready for all exigencies.

Prime Minister exhorted community to follow respiratory hygiene & to adhere to Covid appropriate behavior in crowded public places.

The meeting was attended by Shri PK Mishra, Principal Secretary to PM, Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health) NITI Aayog; Shri. Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary; Secretary, Health & Family Welfare; Secretary, Pharmaceuticals and Secretary, Biotechnology; DG, ICMR, Shri Amit Khare, Advisor, PMO  along with other senior officials.

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