Cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba to hold Covid-19 review meeting tomorrow amid rising Omicron cases

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Union cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba will hold a review meeting on coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Saturday at 2.30pm, even as India’s Omicron cases increased on Friday after Maharashtra reported seven fresh infections.

Secretary of Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Rajesh S Gokhale, member (health) NITI Aayog Dr VK Paul, secretary of health ministry Rajesh Bhushan, and secretary of Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) S Aparna are likely to attend the meeting.

Earlier in the day, joint secretary of health ministry Lav Agarwal said that all the patients of Omicron have “mild” symptoms. 

Addressing a press briefing, he said till 8am of December 10, a total of 58,469 passengers landed in India from ‘at risk’ nations, and 83 cases of Covid-19 were found in them. As many as 3,68,516 passengers arrived in the country from other nations, of whom, 13 people tested positive for coronavirus in RT-PCR tests. The samples of all these individuals have been sent for genome sequencing, Agarwal added.

At the time of the press conference, 25 Omicron cases were confirmed in India, with Gujarat reporting two new infections earlier in the day. A few hours before, Maharashtra reported seven new cases – three from Mumbai and four from Pune (Pimpri-Chinchwad). The cumulative tally of Omicron cases in India currently stands at 32, with Maharashtra accounting for 17.

During the briefing, Agarwal appealed to international travellers arriving in India to offer correct addresses since it is becoming increasingly difficult trace them amid the Omicron scare.

Meanwhile, Dr Paul warned against the declining usage of masks, pointing out that citizens of the country are functioning at an “unacceptable” and “risky” level. “Mask usage is declining in India. We have to remember that both vaccines and masks are important…We should learn from the global situation,” he added.

India on Friday reported 8,503 new Covid-19 cases, taking the overall tally to 34,674,744, according to the health ministry data. The active caseload stands at 94,943, accounting for less than 1% of the total cases, which is the lowest since March 2020. The vaccination coverage has surpassed 131 crore with more than 75 lakh shots administered in the last 24 hours.

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