Review easing of international travel curbs: PM Modi to officials amid concerns over new Covid variant

TNN Bureau. Updated: 11/27/2021 4:03:53 PM World

New Delhi, Nov 27 : The Prime Minister on Saturday said that India needs to be proactive in light of the new variant of concern — Omicron — being detected in South Africa — directing officials to review plans for easing of international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence.
On Saturday, top health ministry officials briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Omicron along with its characteristics, impact in various countries, and its implications for India. After which, Modi underlined that the intensive containment and active surveillance of new Covid-19 cases should continue in clusters reporting higher cases.
During the high-level review meeting, Modi, also highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’. “PM also asked officials to review plans for easing international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence,” the PMO said in a statement.
During the meeting, Modi was given an overview of India’s genome sequencing efforts and the variants circulating in the country. “PM directed that genome sequencing samples be collected from international travelers and community as per norms, tested through the network of labs already established under INSACOG and early warning signal identified for Covid-19 management. PM spoke about the need to increase the sequencing efforts and make it more broad-based,” the PMO said in a statement.
Modi, also, directed the health ministry officials to work closely with state governments to ensure that there is proper awareness at the state and district level. “He directed that intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases and required technical support be provided to states which are reporting higher cases presently,” the PMO said in a statement.
The WHO described the strain, which was first announced by scientists in South Africa, as highly transmissible, prompting several countries, including India, to impose restrictions on travel from affected regions. Omicron, which it has been named, could potentially be more dangerous than the Delta variant. It has so far been reported in South Africa, Hong Kong, Botswana, Israel and Belgium.
Updated On 11/27/2021 4:05:54 PM


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