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Mandaviya to chair high-level review meet on Friday over rising Covid cases

Mandaviya to chair high-level review meet on Friday over rising Covid cases
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New Delhi: Union Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya will chair a high-level review meeting on Friday with the core team of experts over increasing cases of Covid in the country, official sources said.

India has been witnessing an increase in infections over the last couple of weeks.

As on date, 10 states — Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal and Gujarat — have over 1,000 active cases.

The core team of experts will include AIIMS director Dr Randip Guleria, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava and NCDC director Sujeet Singh.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary of Department of Biotechnology Rajesh S Gokhale, and Secretary in the Department of Pharmaceuticals S Aparna, among others, will also attend the meeting.

In a review meeting of INSACOG held last week, states/UTs were asked to submit "larger number" of samples for whole genome sequencing from districts and areas which had seen a surge in Covid cases over a period of seven days.

The direction was issued to check the possibility of any new emerging variant or sub-variant and ascertain the reasons behind the breakthrough infections.

According to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) experts, Omicron and its sublineages, primarily BA. 2 and BA.2.38, as of now, seem to be behind the current rise in Covid cases, an official source said.

The BA.2 and its sublineages constitute over 85 per cent of the cases with BA.2.38 being found in around 33 per cent of the samples.

The percentage of BA.4 and BA.5 is found in less than 10 per cent samples, the source said.

"The last review meeting stated that there is no variant of concern in the country as of now. India now has BA.4 and BA.5 in addition to BA.2 which have slightly higher transmissibility as compared to other Omicron sublineages," the official said.

Forty-three districts in India, including 11 from Kerala, six from Mizoram and five from Maharashtra, are reporting a weekly Covid positivity rate of more than 10 per cent. In 42 districts, including eight from Rajasthan, five from Delhi and four from Tamil Nadu, the weekly positivity is between 5 and 10 per cent, sources said.

Meanwhile, India reported 12,249 new Coronavirus infections and 13 deaths, while active cases went up by over 2,300 in a 24-hour span, according to the Union Health ministry data updated on Wednesday.

The latest updates pushed the country's overall Covid numbers to 4,33,31,645 cases, 5,24,903 deaths and 81,687 active cases, the data released at 8 am showed.

The number of active cases rose by 2,374 from Tuesday to stand at 81,687, and now constitute 0.19 per cent of the total infections, the ministry said.

The country's Covid recovery rate was recorded at 98.60 per cent as the number of people who have recuperated from the disease increased to 4,27,25,055. The case fatality rate was recorded at 1.21 per cent.

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