Indian PM Modi to hold discussions with state chiefs amid possible surge of Omicron cases

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  • Narendra Modi
    Narendra Modi
    Prime Minister of India and former Chief minister of Gujarat

India’s prime minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting on Thursday with state chief ministers to review the country’s preparedness for containing a possible surge of Covid cases from the Omicron variant.

The meeting comes amid rising concerns about the newly discovered and highly transmissible variant’s spread across the country.

India reported a total 236 Omicron cases, of which 104 people have recovered or have migrated, according to the federal health ministry.

The states of Maharashtra and New Delhi have reported the largest number of Omicron cases with 65 and 64 cases respectively. The remaining cases have been recorded in the states of Telangana (24), Karnataka (19), Rajasthan (21) and Kerala (15).

The federal government, in a communication to state governments, has asked them to keep war rooms ready in anticipation of a surge, reported The Indian Express newspaper.

The Modi government has also asked states to track trends and surges and take prompt containment action at local levels.

State governments have also been asked to consider imposing local restrictions ahead of the festive season and monitor case positivity, doubling rates and clusters of new cases across districts.

The Modi government came under harsh criticism when a brutal second wave of Covid in the summer brought India’s public healthcare system to its knees.

On Thursday, federal health minister Mansukh Mandaviya announced that the country had vaccinated 60 per cent of the adult population.

In a tweet, he said: “Accomplishing more new feats! Congratulations India. Aided by public participation & dedicated efforts of our health workers, over 60 per cent of the eligible population fully vaccinated now.”

The government has, however, come under criticism for its slow pace of vaccination and not doling out booster doses in anticipation of an Omicron-fuelled surge as many other countries in the world have done.

As of Thursday, India has recorded a total of 34,765,976 cases with 478,759 deaths.

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