Covid In India: Political Slugfest Begins Over Protocol, Random Screening For Int’l Flyers. Top

As China battles a massive surge in Covid cases, India is steeling itself for the battle against the Omicron BF.7 variant of coronavirus. The Centre on Wednesday issued guidelines and advisories to all states, directing them to follow renewed Covid guidelines.  

Four cases of the Omicron subvariant BF.7, the strain behind China’s current surge of Covid cases, have been detected in India so far — two in Gujarat and two in Odisha. In Gujarat, both the patients, who had foreign travel history, have recovered 

The central government has also asked the states to send Covid positive samples to the 54 designated genome sequencing laboratories across India to look for possible new variants. The Covid situation has also sparked a political war between the BJP and the Opposition. 

Here are the latest developments on the Covid situation in the country: 

  • Prime Minister Narendra led by example by wearing a mask during the Rajya Sabha session on Thursday. While the BJP and MPs from its alliance partners were spotted wearing masks, Union Parliamentary Affairs minister Pralhad Joshi alleged, “The leaders from the Opposition didn’t wear masks which shows their attitude towards Covid guidelines.” 
  • A day after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya wrote to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot to follow Covid protocol during the party’s Bharat Jodo Yatra, the Congress leader on Thursday alleged it was just the BJP’s ploy to stop the rally as the saffron party was “scared of India’s truth”. 
  • The BJP on Thursday said it will go ahead with its plan of holding ‘Jan Aakrosh Yatra’ in Rajasthan while following Covid-19 protocol. 
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting with top government officials on Thursday to review the coronavirus situation and urged people to wear masks in crowded places and follow Covid appropriate behaviour. PM Modi also asked states to increase Covid testing and focus on genome sequencing of all positive cases. 
  • With Christmas and New Year festivities around the corner, state governments have been asked to step up efforts to curb any possible Covid spread as India brought back random testing at airports for international passengers. 
  • Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said India has brought back the random sampling of 2% of travellers on international flights coming to the country and may consider making it mandatory for all if necessary. Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin has asked officials to screen all international flyers arriving to the state.
  • The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Thursday advised people to follow Covid appropriate behaviour with immediate effect. The medical body asked people to avoid international travel and wear masks in all public places. In a statement, the IMA said: “Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, all are advised to take the following necessary steps to overcome the impending Covid outbreak,” the IMA said. 
  • The IMA said nearly 5.37 lakh new Covid cases had been reported in the last 24 hours from major countries like China, USA, Japan, South Korea, France, and Brazil. 
  • The Karnataka government has decided conduct mandatory testing of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) and Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI). It has also made face masks mandatory in closed spaces and air-conditioned rooms.