Indian PM Modi calls for review on easing international travel plans amid Omicron variant concerns

WION Web Team
New Delhi Published: Nov 27, 2021, 04:20 PM(IST)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs a meeting with top government officials on the COVID-19 situation Photograph:( ANI )

Story highlights

At a meeting to review the Covid situation, Modi highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’, 

Prime Minister on Saturday asked officials to reconsider plans on easing international travel restrictions in the light of the new coronavirus variant, Omircron, which has been classified as a variant of concern by the WHO.

On Friday, India had decided to resume international passenger flights from countries deemed "at risk" of the coronavirus, while ordering tightened border screening on the account of lower reported cases.

At a meeting to review the Covid situation, Modi “highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’, after the WHO warned about “increased risk of reinfection with this variant” 

So far, the United States, Canada, Russia, Britain, Israel, the Philippines and EU states have banned all travel from the southern African countries, where the new cases have been reported.

Also read | Omicron: What does variant of concern mean?

“Modi was briefed about the global trends on coronavirus cases and officials highlighted that countries across the world have experienced multiple COVID-19 surges since the onset of the pandemic,” a Prime Minister's Office (PMO) statement said.

Modi spoke about the need to be proactive in light of the new variant and said that people need to be more cautious and take proper precautions like masking up and maintaining social distance, according to the PMO.

Also read | Neither Nu nor Xi: WHO skips two Greek letters for naming new Covid variant Omicron  

“He directed that intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases and required technical support be provided to states which are reporting higher cases presently,” the statement said.

Modi told officials to accelerate second-dose coverage, it said.

Also Read |  WHO warns against travel curbs due to new variant, says 'closely monitoring'

The prime minister highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified as 'at risk'.

The meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog member (health) Dr V K Paul, among others.

So far now, no cases of infection with the new variant have been reported in India.

The country has been witnessing a dip in new cases every day, as only 8,318 new Covid cases have been recorded on Saturday—a drop of 21% than Friday.,

The daily rise in new coronavirus infections has been below 20,000 for 50 continuous days and less than 50,000 daily new cases have been reported for 153 consecutive days now.

(With inputs from agencies)

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