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Health Secretary to brief EC on Covid situation in poll-bound states today

🔴Bhushan raised a red flag that pockets with low vaccination coverage may be more vulnerable to the new Omicron variant, and that district administrations have to pay special attention to ramp up vaccination in these pockets.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
December 27, 2021 4:15:31 am
Rajesh Bhushan, Omicron variant, Covid Omicron, Delhi Omicron, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur, Indian Express, India news, current affairs, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsUnion Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan (PTI/File)

IN THE backdrop of the highly infectious Omicron variant detected in several pockets of the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan will brief the Election Commission on Monday on the Covid-19 situation in states where Assembly elections are scheduled to be held early next year.

Significantly, the Health Secretary had on December 23 directed the poll-bound states to “exponentially ramp up vaccination” – especially in the “low coverage districts” to protect the vulnerable population.

Bhushan, during the review meeting with all states, also raised a red flag that pockets with low vaccination coverage may be more vulnerable to the new Omicron variant, and that district administrations have to pay special attention to ramp up vaccination in these pockets. Elections are expected in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur early next year.

On December 23, the directions by Bhushan came just hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting with officials in the backdrop of the emergence of Omicron.

The Health Ministry has sent multidisciplinary teams to Uttar Pradesh and Punjab – for reporting vaccination below the national average. Uttar Pradesh has administered a cumulative 19.45 crore doses – 83 per cent have received first dose and 46 per cent are fully vaccinated. Punjab has administered a cumulative 2.60 crore doses – 77 per cent have received first dose and 41 per cent are fully vaccinated.

The teams, which will remained stationed in the states for the next 3 to 5 days, will assess the situation, suggest remedial actions and submit a report every evening by 7 pm. They will specifically look at five areas: contact tracing, including surveillance, containment operations; Covid-19 testing, including sending of adequate samples from clusters to INSACOG network for genome sequencing; Covid appropriate behaviour and its enforcement; availability of hospital beds, ventilators and medical oxygen; and vaccination progress.

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