Centre alarmed as COVID-19 sees huge surge in South-East Asia
Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting amid the exponential rise in COVID-19 cases in China and South-East Asia. In the meeting, Mandaviya asked for a high level of alertness, aggressive genome sequencing and intensified surveillance, News18 reported quoting sources. The meeting was attended by the health secretary, pharma secretary, and the principal scientific adviser to the government.
Why does this story matter?
The meeting comes as China is witnessing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant. Notably, China reported 3,290 fresh COVID-19 infections on Wednesday. To tackle the spread of the virus, China has put the 17.5 million residents of the southern tech hub of Shenzhen under lockdown and imposed tight restrictions in other cities.
Decision to resume international flights also reviewed
According to reports, the health minister also reviewed the Centre's decision to resume international flights. However, no decision was taken to revoke the resumption. Commercial international flights will resume operations from March 27 after a two-year hiatus in strict compliance with the Union Health Ministry's guidelines. The announcement was made by the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) earlier this month.
Hong Kong reeling under deadly Omicron outbreak
Similarly, the COVID-19 situation is worsening in Hong Kong due to the outbreak of the Omicron variant. In under three months since the highly transmissible variant broke through, Hong Kong has recorded nearly a million infections and more than 4,600 deaths. A funeral industry representative told local media that the soaring death toll had seen a crunch in the city's coffins supply.
India witnessing an improvement in COVID-19 situation
Meanwhile, India has been witnessing a rapid improvement in the COVID-19 situation, with cases dropping below the 3,000-mark. This comes after India reported a staggering 3,47,254 daily infections on January 21. Experts believe India may not see a fourth wave unless another variant emerges. Virologist Dr. T Jacob John had said with the decline in cases, India has entered an endemic phase once again.
India reports 2,539 new cases; 60 more deaths
On Thursday, India reported 2,539 new COVID-19 cases and 60 fatalities. So far, India reported a total of 4,30,01,477 COVID-19 cases and 5,16,132 deaths related to COVID-19. The active caseload in the country currently stands at 30,799. Notably, the daily positivity rate and the weekly positivity rate were recorded at 0.35% and 0.42%, respectively. India's COVID-19 recovery rate has also increased to 98.73%.