Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday chaired a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in the country through a video conference.
Modi directed that intensive containment & active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases and required technical support be provided to states which are reporting higher cases presently.
Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs a meeting to review the COVID-19 situation in the country, through video conference pic.twitter.com/EY5u7LAaC3
— ANI (@ANI) January 9, 2022
The prime minister highlighted the need to ensure effective usage of masks & physical distancing measures as new normal to control the spread. Modi further exhorted the need for effective implementation of home isolation for mild/asymptomatic cases & to disseminate factual info to the community.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, Home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and other officials were present at the meeting.
This meeting comes as the country reported more than 1.5 lakh new COVID-19 cases on Sunday and the case tally of the Omicron variant of the virus reached 3,623 in the country.
Dr NK Arora, chairman of India's technical advisory group on COVID-19 vaccination, told India Today around 70 to 80 percent of COVID-19 cases during India’s third wave are of the Omicron variant of the virus. However, the Delta variant is still active in northeast India and West Bengal, he added.
With Omicron, problems as serious as those experienced during the second wave have not yet been seen, Arora said. “Scientific evidence says that Delta variant is more dangerous. The Omicron situation has not been as severe,” he said.
“There is no need to panic as few people need to be hospitalised if infected with Omicron,” he said. Still, he emphasised that the elderly and vulnerable must take great care.
Meanwhile, Union Health Mansukh Mandaviya will interact with health ministers of five states and a Union Territory to review the COVID-19 situation on Monday amid a spike in infections, official sources said.
The Union minister will virtually interact with health ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra, and the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, an official source said.
According to Union Health Ministry data updated at 8 am on Sunday, a total of 1,59,632 new coronavirus infections were reported, the highest in 224 days, while the active cases increased to 5,90,611, the highest in around 197 days. On May 29 last year, India had logged 1,65,553 infections in a day
India reported 1,59,632 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the daily positivity rate in the country to 10.21 per cent, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Sunday.
Four SC judges test positive for COVID-19
Four Supreme Court judges and almost five percent of its staff have tested positive for COVID-19, official sources said on Sunday, as the National Capital witnesses a sharp spike in coronavirus cases.
An apex court official told PTI that out of the 32 judges in the apex court, at least four judges, and 150 out of the nearly 3,000 staff members, are currently infected with the virus.
Delhi on Saturday, recorded seven fatalities due to Covid and 20,181 cases as the positivity rate rose to 19.60%, while the country, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday, reported a single day rise of 1,59,632 cases and 327 fatalities.
A COVID-19 testing facility has been set up on the top court's premises and it is open from Monday to Saturday. “In view to contain the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus infection and sudden upsurge in the cases of Omicron variant of the coronavirus, it is reiterated that the entrants to the Supreme Court premises, i.e. the registry staff, staff of the coordinate agencies, advocates and their staff etc., particularly those who may be showing any symptom(s) similar to those notified for COVID-19 infection(s), may kindly get themselves tested at such facility...,” a circular read.
The top court on January 2 had decided to conduct all hearings in virtual mode for two weeks starting from January 3, in view of rising number of cases.
A circular issued in this regard stated that an earlier circular prescribing standard operating procedure for physical hearing (hybrid hearing) will remain suspended for the time being.
Of 3,623 Omicron cases, Maharashtra tops the chart with 1,009 cases, followed by Delhi (513) and Karnataka (441).
Varun Gandhi tests positive
Varun Gandhi, the BJP's Lok Sabha MP from Pilibhit, on Sunday said he has tested positive for COVID-19 with "fairly strong symptoms".
In a tweet, he also said the Election Commission, which on Saturday announced the poll schedule for five states, should make sure candidates and political workers too get a precautionary dose of Covid vaccine.
"After being in Pilibhit for three days, I have tested positive for Covid with fairly strong symptoms," Varun Gandhi said.
He added, "We are now in the middle of a third wave and an election campaign. The Election Commission should extend precautionary doses to candidates and political workers as well."
Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa will be held between February 10 and March 7 in seven phases with the counting of votes on March 10.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said he has asked the chief secretaries of poll-bound states to accelerate vaccination of all citizens above 18 years and ensure precautionary dose for all poll officials who have been designated as frontline workers.
With inputs from PTI