PM presides over a high-level Covid-19 and Influenza meeting


NewDelhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a high-level meeting to assess the Covid-19 & Influenza situation in the country in terms of the preparedness of health infrastructure & logistics, the status of the vaccination campaign, the emergence of new Covid-19 variants & Influenza types, and their public health implications for the country. This high-level review discussion takes place against the backdrop of an increase in Influenza and Covid-19 cases over the past two weeks.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare gave a comprehensive presentation on the global Covid-19 situation, including the rise in cases in India. The Prime Minister was informed that India has been experiencing a minor increase in new cases, with an average daily case count of 888 and a weekly positive rate of 0.98% for the week ending March 22, 2023. Nonetheless, a daily average of 1.08 million cases were reported worldwide over the same period.

In addition, the actions conducted in response to the directives given by the Prime Minister during the last Covid-19 review held on December 22, 2022 were detailed. The availability and costs of 20 primary Covid Medicines, 12 additional pharmaceuticals, eight buffer drugs, and one influenza drug are being monitored, he was informed. In addition, on December 27, 2022, a simulated drill was conducted in 22,000 hospitals, and various corrective steps were subsequently made.

The Prime Minister was briefed on the influenza situation in the country, in particular the increase in H1N1 and H3N2 cases during the past few months.

The Prime Minister instructed government officials to improve Whole Genome Sequencing of Positive Samples using the accredited INSACOG Genome Sequencing Facilities. This will facilitate the tracking of any new versions and a prompt reaction.

PM stressed Covid-appropriate behaviour, such as the use of masks by patients, health professionals, and health workers in hospital settings. He also emphasised that senior persons and those with co-morbidities should use masks when visiting busy areas.

He requested that States conduct effective monitoring of IRI/SARI cases and testing for Influenza, SARS-CoV-2, and Adenovirus. In addition, the Prime Minister emphasised the need to secure the availability of sufficient beds and health personnel, as well as the availability of the necessary drugs and logistics for influenza and covid-19 across all health facilities.

He emphasised that the Covid-19 outbreak is far from ended and that there is a need for routine surveillance across the nation. Increase Lab Surveillance and testing of all Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) patients, as recommended by the Prime Minister. Regular mock drills should be done to ensure that our hospitals are prepared for any emergency.

The Prime Minister advised the populace to observe respiratory hygiene and Covid-appropriate behaviour in crowded public spaces.

Shri PK Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr. V K Paul, Member (Health) of NITI Aayog, Shri. Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary; Secretary, Health & Family Welfare; Secretary, Pharmaceuticals and Secretary, Biotechnology; DG, ICMR, Shri Amit Khare, Advisor to the PMO, and other senior officials attended the meeting.