Top
Millennium Post

Fresh advisory to states, UTs for travellers from South Africa, Hong Kong, Botswana

Fresh advisory to states, UTs for travellers from South Africa, Hong Kong, Botswana
X

New Delhi: The Centre on Thursday asked all states and union territories to conduct rigorous screening and testing of all international travellers coming from or transiting through South Africa, Hong Kong and Botswana, where a new COVID-19 variant of serious public health implications has been reported.

In a letter to additional chief secretaries or principal secretaries or secretaries (Health) of the states and union territories, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked them to ensure that samples of travellers turning positive are sent to the designated IGSLS or genome sequencing laboratories promptly.

It has now been reported by the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) that multiple cases of a COVID-19 variant B.1.1529 have been reported in Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6) and Honk Kong (1 case), Bhushan said in the letter.

"This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel.

"It is therefore imperative that all international travellers travelling from and transiting through these countries, (they are part of the 'at risk' country category of international travellers coming to India) and also including all other 'at risk' countries indicated in the revised Guidelines for International Arrivals issued by this ministry dated November 11, 2021, are subjected to rigorous screening and testing, as per MoHFW Guidelines," he said.

The contacts of these international travellers must also be closely tracked and tested as per MoHFW guidelines.

"You are also requested to ensure that samples of travellers turning positive are sent to the designated IGSLS promptly as per the INSACOG Guidance Document issued by this Ministry dated 15 July, 2021," the letter said.

Bhushan said state surveillance officers must also establish close coordination with their designated/tagged IGSLS for expediting results of genomic analysis, so that necessary public health measures may be undertaken by the states and union territories in case presence of variant of concern or variant of interest is reported by the INSACOG network.

"It is critical for the states and UTs to adhere to the overarching Test-Track Treat-Vaccinate principle to ensure stringent implementation of containment measures as per MoHFW guidelines, and to prevent the spread of VoC/Vols and formation of clusters of cases," he said.

The new variant of COVID-19, feared to have a high amount of spike mutations unseen before, has been detected in South Africa, with authorities there confirming 22 positive cases associated with it on Thursday.

According to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday, India logged 9,119 new Coronavirus infections taking the country's total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,45,44,882 out of which 3,39,67,962 people have recuperated from the disease while the active cases declined to 1,09,940, the lowest in 539 days.

The death toll climbed to 4,66,980 with 396 more fatalities, including 308 from Kerala, while the case fatality rate was recorded at 1.35 per cent, according to the data updated at 8 am.

The daily rise in new Coronavirus infections has been below 20,000 for 48 straight days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 151 consecutive days now.

The active cases comprise 0.32 per cent of the total infections, the lowest since March 2020, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was recorded at 98.33 per cent, the highest since March 2020, the ministry said.

A decrease of 1,541 cases has been recorded in the active COVID-19 caseload in a span of 24 hours.

The daily positivity rate was recorded at 0.79 per cent. It has been less than two per cent for last 52 days. The weekly positivity rate was also recorded at 0.90 per cent. It has been below two per cent for the last 62 days, according to the ministry.

The cumulative COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country surpassed the 120-crore mark on Thursday. More than 74 lakh (74,59,819) vaccine doses have been administered till 7 pm.

Meanwhile, diversified entity ITC on Thursday confirmed that it is developing a nasal spray for COVID-19 prevention for which it has initiated clinical trials.

Developed by scientists at ITC Life Sciences and Technology Centre (LSTC), Bengaluru, the company plans to market the nasal spray under the Savlon brand once it gets all the requisite regulatory approvals, according to sources.

When contacted for comments, a spokesperson of ITC said, "We are unable to share more details at the current moment as the clinical trials are underway."

Next Story
Share it