New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS): Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to stop flights from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong where new Covid-19 variants have been detected.
"I urge Hon'ble PM to stop flights from those countries which are affected by new variant. With great difficulty, our country has recovered from Corona. We should do everything possible to prevent this new variant from entering India," Kejriwal tweeted this morning.
His tweet came in the light of a meeting that will be chaired by the Prime Minister on the Covid-19 situation and vaccination, today.
Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Principal Secretary to PM, PK Mishra, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, and NITI Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul will attend the meeting.
With the news of a new Covid-19 variant --Omicron, being detected in South Africa, scientists and health experts in India have said that new waves of infection are anticipated and unless we act quickly and efficiently, the country will possibly see repeat waves.
The variant has also been declared as a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
In a communication to all states and Union Territories, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said India's National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has informed the government that "multiple cases of a Covid-19 variant B.1.1529 have been reported in Botswana (3 cases), South Africa (6 cases) and Hong Kong (1 case)".
"This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, has serious public health implications for the country, in view of recently relaxed visa restrictions and opening up of international travel," Bhushan said.
"lt is, therefore, imperative that ALL international travellers travelling from and transiting through these countries, (they are part of the "at-risk" Country Category of international travellers coming to lndia) are subjected to rigorous screening and testing", the communication said.
"The contacts of these international travellers must also be closely tracked and tested as per MoHFW guidelines."