COVID-19 test mandatory for arrivals from China, 4 other countries
The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has released a six-point advisory for states to deal with any COVID-19 emergency amid a spike in cases in China. So far, India has reported four cases of the Omicron BF.7 subvariant. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Saturday announced that passengers arriving from China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Hong Kong must show a negative coronavirus certificate.
Why does this story matter?
- The recent rise in coronavirus cases in China has put the Indian government on its toes.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chaired a high-level meeting on Thursday with authorities to review the country's COVID-19 situation.
- The new Omicron subvariant BF.7 is reportedly driving China's recent spike in coronavirus cases since the country lifted its strict COVID-19 laws earlier in December.
Quarantine mandatory if symptomatic or COVID-19 positive
Individuals arriving in India from the aforementioned countries will reportedly be quarantined if they test positive for COVID-19 or show symptoms. "Though COVID-19 cases in the country are low and not surging as of now...to face any challenges arising in future, the operationalization and maintenance of...medical infrastructure is utmost importance," Manohar Agnani, Health Ministry's Additional Secretary, stated in a letter to states and UTs.
Ministry asks authorities to stay vigilant
During the second wave in 2021, oxygen shortage was a major issue in India. So, the Centre's new advisory on medical oxygen management says pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen-generating plants should be kept fully operational, and regular mock drills should be conducted to review them. In PSA, ambient air goes through an internal filtration system for nitrogen separation, concentrating the oxyen to certain purity.
Oxygen availability priority for citizens
The Centre told states/UTs that the availability of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) in health facilities and an uninterrupted supply chain for refilling the same is necessary. It added that an adequate inventory of oxygen cylinders, backup stocks, and an effective refilling system must be ensured. Meanwhile, India has ramped up the genome sequencing of COVID-19 cases amid the recent spike in cases in China.
Know about Omicron BF.7 subvariant
BF.7, short for BA.188.8.131.52, is a sublineage of Omicron's BA.5 subvariant. Notably, BA.5 and BA.4 never became dominant in India, and the January 2021 COVID-19 wave was also driven by BA.1 and BA.2 subvariants. India is unlikely to be severely impacted by BF.7. Furthermore, the reason behind BF.7's rapid spread in China is said to be the immunologically naive population, reported The Indian Express.
India reports 201 new COVID-19 cases
India reported 201 new coronavirus cases on Saturday. With this, the country's active caseload stood at 3,397, which accounts for approximately 0.01% of the total cases in India. The recovery rate in the country is currently 98.8%, reported Times of India. A total of 183 recoveries were reported in the past 24 hours, taking the total recovery numbers to 4,41,42,791.