COVID is not over yet. A consistent increase in global daily average COVID-19 cases (due to evolving situation in some countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, France and United States), has been reported since last 6 weeks. Over half a million daily average cases have reported in week ending 19th Dec, 2022. A new and highly transmissible BF.7 strain of the Omicron variant has been found to be behind a surge of COVID infections in China.
“WHO is very concerned over the evolving situation in China,” WHO Director-General said on Wednesday on high surge in COVID cases in China.
In view of this global pandemic scenario and in view of upcoming festive season, the government has emphasised the importance of being prepared and alert against new and emerging strains of COVID-19. The officials are to be fully geared up and strengthen surveillance. People are urged to follow COVID Appropriate Behaviour and get vaccinated against COVID. Directions are issued to strengthen the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track variants.
Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure timely detection of newer variants circulating in the population. States/UTs have been requested to send samples of all COVID-19 positive cases to INSACOG Genome Sequencing Laboratories (IGSLs) on a daily basis, for sequencing and for tracking new variants.
“Operational Guidelines for Revised Surveillance Strategy in context of COVID-19” was issued in June 2022 which calls for early detection, isolation, testing and timely management of suspected and confirmed cases to detect and contain outbreaks of new SARS-CoV-2 variants.