- Omicron cases have been reported in 7-8 nations, says Gujarat Health Minister
- We've made an action plan for travellers from 11 nations: Rushikesh Patel
- Travellers from Hong Kong, SAf, Botswana to be screened at airport as and when required
Gujarat Health Minister Rushikesh Patel on Saturday assured the people of the state that there is no need to worry about another COVID-19 wave as the state government is well prepared and has increased preparedness by 2.5 times.
"We are well prepared, irrespective of whether a third wave hits India or not. From oxygen cylinders, ventilators to beds, arrangements have been increased by 2.5 times. Be it third, fourth, or fifth wave, it won't affect us. People of Gujarat need not worry," the state's health minister told news agency ANI.
His statement comes amid rising concern over the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, that was first detected in South Africa.
"Omicron cases have been reported in 7-8 nations, we have made an action plan for travellers from the said nations. Travellers from Hong Kong, South Africa, Botswana will be screened at the airport and quarantined as and when required," said the minister.
The Gujarat government on Saturday mandated RT-PCR testing for travellers landing at the airports in the state. The travellers arriving from 11 countries including Europe, the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Hong Kong have to get tested after landing at the airports in the state.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron' and alarmed the siren among countries of the new variant.
Meanwhile, taking action amid concerns over the new variant of the virus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday chaired a comprehensive meeting to review the public health preparedness and vaccination-related situation for COVID-19.
As per an official statement issued by Prime Minister Office, officials briefed the PM about the new Variant of Concern 'Omicron' along with its characteristics and the impact seen in various countries. Its implications for India were also discussed. The PM spoke about the need to be proactive in light of the new variant.
The Prime Minister highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified 'at risk'. He also asked officials to review plans for easing international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence.