Taking cognizance of the emergence of highly mutant Covid-19 variant B.1.1529 or Omicron cases in few countries of Africa, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday extended validity of Covid containment measures till December 31 to curb further spread of the deadly disease, directing state governments to take pro-active containment measures.
The Home Ministry made the announcement through an order, mentioning "Covid-19 containment measures will remain in force up to December 31, 2021".
Noting the emergence of highly mutant Covid-19 variant B.1.1529 cases in few countries of Africa, the MHA order, issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, directed all states and the Union Territories (UTs) to ensure strict compliance to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) advisories issued on November 25.
The order, sent to the chief secretaries of all states, directs for rigorous screening and testing of all international arrivals, as per their guidelines issued from time to time.
"Further the contacts of these international travelers must also be closely tracked and tested as per MoHFW guidelines and the samples of travelers turning positive are sent to the designated INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (1GSLs) promptly, as per the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) Guidance Document," the order mentions.
It is also directed that the state surveillance officers must also establish a close coordination with their designated or tagged IGSLs for expediting results of genomic analysis, and the states and UTs should immediately undertake necessary public health measures, in case presence of variants of concern or variants of interest (VOCs/Vols) is reported by the INSAcOG network.
"In exercise of the powers, conferred under Section 10(2)(1) of the Disaster Management Act, the undersigned, hereby directs that the Order of the Ministry of Home Affairs of even number, dated September 28, 2021, to ensure compliance with the Prompt and Effective Containment Measures for COVID-19, as conveyed vide Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) dated September 21, 2021, will remain in force upto the December 31, 2021," the order mentions.
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