Covid cases in India on downward trajectory after uptick in Nov-Dec: Mandaviya

Covid cases in India on downward trajectory after uptick in Nov-Dec: Mandaviya

New Delhi, Feb 2: The trajectory of COVID-19 cases in the country is currently on the decline after a “slight upsurge” that began in the last week of November and peaked around late December, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Friday.

The cases of the JN.1 variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were first reported in the country in November 2023, Mandaviya said in the Lok Sabha in response to a question.

The Union health ministry continues to monitor the trajectory of COVID-19 in the country as well as globally.

“Overall, the trajectory of COVID-19 cases in the country witnessed a slight upsurge in the last week of November 2023 which peaked around late December and is currently on the decline,” Mandaviya said.

As on January 29, there were a total of 1,460 active cases in the country, with almost 85 per cent of them mild and under home isolation, he said.

To strengthen disease surveillance and monitor disease trends, including those of COVID-19 and its variants, the government of India has strengthened the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), which monitors outbreak-prone diseases and institutes requisite public health measures, according to the minister.

Similarly, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has established a network of more than 150 Virus Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDLs) for timely laboratory-based confirmation of pathogens, Mandaviya said.

Funding support has been provided to states and union territories for health system strengthening to meet any exigency due to public health emergencies like pandemics through the National Health Mission, he said.

“With the long-term goal to better prepare our country against public health emergencies, Pradhan Mantri Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM) has been launched with the intent to enhance the capacity of primary, secondary and tertiary health care facilities/systems and institutes for identifying and managing any new and emerging diseases,” he said.

The Union health ministry, through a series of formal communications as well as virtual meetings, has advised all states and union territories to enhance COVID-19 surveillance as per the ‘Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in Context of COVID-19’ issued by the ministry.

They have also been asked to ensure ramping up of RT-PCR based COVID-19 testing and refer an adequate number of positive samples to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network of laboratories for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) to ensure timely detection of newer variants of coronavirus.

States and union territories have been advised to monitor emerging evidences of COVID-19 cases, symptoms and case severity as well as to take stock of available health infrastructure, including availability of hospital beds, ventilators, ICUs, medical oxygen, drugs and trained human resource, etc. to enable timely and appropriate treatment of patients, Mandaviya said.–(PTI)

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