PM Modi Reviews Covid Situation In India, Centre May Recommend Masks: Sources

The Centre has said there is no cause for panic but people should mask up (File)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is meeting ministers and top officials to review the Covid situation in India after four cases of the Omicron sub-variant driving a massive China surge were found in the country.

After the meeting, states are likely to be issued a note advising them to stress on masks and social distancing and prevent crowds during Christmas and New Year celebrations.

The government has already started random testing of visitors from abroad. Sources say infrastructure for quarantine and testing is likely to be reestablished in the next seven days.

Two cases of the BF.7 variant were reported in Gujarat and two in Odisha. The cases were reported in July, September and November.

Both patients in Gujarat were treated in home isolation and have fully recovered now, said the state’s health department.

According to reports, there are 10 Covid variants in the country at present, the latest being BF.7.

A massive spike in Covid cases in China after it dismantled its stringent “zero-Covid” regime has sparked global concern.

After a meeting called by Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya yesterday, the Centre advised using masks and Covid-appropriate behaviour but there is no protocol in place for now. There is no cause for panic, says the government, but people should mask up in crowded areas.

The minister said random checks of international travelers started today.

The Centre has asked states to step up genome sequencing and to send samples of all Covid-positive cases to the labs of INSACOG, a forum under the Health Ministry to study and monitor various Covid strains.

“Covid is not over yet. I have directed all concerned to be alert and strengthen surveillance. We are prepared to manage any situation,” said the Health Minister.

The country reported 129 fresh infections over 24 hours and the number of active cases currently stands at 3,408. One death was recorded.

Various states are prepping their Covid protocol, with the country on alert over BF.7 cases in China, US, UK and European nations such as Belgium, Germany, France and Denmark.

BF.7 is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant BA.5 and is highly contagious, has a shorter incubation period, and has a higher capacity to cause reinfection or infect even those vaccinated, news agency PTI reported.