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India

New Covid Variant Threat: PM Modi Directs Review Of Plans To Ease International Travel

The meeting comes amid rising global concerns over a new strain of the coronavirus which the World Health Organization has named ‘Omicron’ and classified as a highly transmissible virus of concern.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi to chair the Cabinet Committee on Security. (Image: Twitter/ANI)

New Delhi: Amid the threat of a new coronavirus variant, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday chaired a comprehensive meeting for almost 2 hours to review the public health preparedness and vaccination-related situation in India.

The prime minister highlighted the need to monitor all international arrivals, and conduct rigorous screening and testing as per the guidelines with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’. PM Modi also asked officials to review plans for easing international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence on COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ or ‘B.1.1.529’.

The officials briefed PM Modi on the new variant along with its characteristics, impact seen in various countries and it’s implications for India. The prime minister stressed on the need to be proactive in light of the new strain.

Further, the prime minister directed the officials concerned to work closely with state governments to ensure that there is proper awareness at state and district levels. He further said intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases of COVID-19.

The meeting comes amid rising global concerns over the new strain of the coronavirus which the World Health Organization (WHO) has named ‘Omicron’ and classified as a highly transmissible virus of concern.

ALSO READ: WHO Designates New Covid Strain Omicron As ‘Variant Of Concern’

The new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529, first detected from South Africa this week, was on Friday designated as a “Variant of Concern” by the World Health Organisation, which named it “Omicron”. A “variant of concern” is the WHO’s top category of worrying Covid variants.

Meanwhile, the cumulative number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in India has crossed 120.96 crore, according to the Union Health Ministry.

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