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Prime Minister's Principal Secretary chairs high-level meeting to review COVID-19 status, preparedness

New Delhi : Principal Secretary to Prime Minister PK Mishra chaired a high-level meeting to review the global and national COVID-19 situation, newer variants in circulation and their public health impact on Monday, a press release from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare read. This was in view of recent reports of the detection of certain newer variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus reported globally. The meeting was attended by NITI Aayog Member Vinod Paul, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, PMO Advisor Amit Khare, Health and Family Welfare Secretary Sudhansh Pant, Secretary of Department of Health Research and Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Rajiv Bahl, Biotechnology Secretary Rajesh S. Gokhale and Additional Secretary to Prime Minister Punya Salila Srivastava. An overview of the global COVID-19 situation was given by Health Secretary including certain newer variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, like BA.2.86 (Pirola) and EG.5 (Eris), which have been reported globally, the press release mentioned. The Health Secretary underlined that as per World Health Organization (WHO), while the EG.5 (Eris) has been reported from over 50 countries, the variant BA.2.86 (Pirola) has been reported in four countries. It was highlighted that while globally a total of 2,96,219 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the past seven days, India which contributes to nearly 17 per cent of the global population, has reported only 223 cases (0.075 per cent of global new cases) in the past week, the release mentioned. The Health Secretary added that the daily average of new COVID-19 cases continues to be below 50 from the entire country and the country has managed to maintain 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, PK Mishra highlighted that while the COVID-19 situation in the country remains stable and public health systems in the country remain geared up, there is a need for States to monitor trends of influenza-like illness or severe acute respiratory infections cases, send sufficient samples for testing of Covid-19 while ramping up Whole Genome Sequencing and maintain a close watch on the new global variants, the press release stated.

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