NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s government has told the country’s states to keep a close eye out for any new coronavirus variants and has asked people to wear masks in crowded places. This is because COVID-19 cases have been rising in China and other parts of the world.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya met with top government officials to talk about the issue. Everyone there wore masks, which hasn’t been required in most parts of the country for several months.
“COVID is still going on. I have told everyone involved to stay alert and step up surveillance, “He wrote on Twitter. “We are ready to deal with anything.”
Local news outlets said on Wednesday that India has found at least three cases of the highly contagious BF.7 Omicron sub-variant so far. This is the same virus that caused an increase in COVID-19 infections in China last October.
When Reuters asked India’s health ministry for a comment on the news stories, they did not answer right away.
China has seen a rise in infections after loosening some of its restrictions, and the World Health Organization reports that infections have also gone up in Japan, South Korea, and the US in recent days.
The Indian government has asked all of the country’s states to make sure that samples from positive cases are sent to the 54 labs that are set up to do genome sequencing.
Some Indian opposition leaders and Twitter users have asked for flights to and from China to be stopped. A government source, who did not want to be named because they were not allowed to talk to the media, said that there was no such plan.
India Today said, based on information from sources, that airports will randomly test international arrivals. A request for a comment from the Ministry of Health has not answered right away.
Mandaviya also asked people who were taking part in a cross-country march put on by the opposition Congress party to get vaccinated and follow safety rules like wearing masks.
India has reported more than 44 million COVID cases so far, which is second only to the United States. In the past few months, however, the number of confirmed cases has dropped sharply. At the moment, about 1,200 cases are reported every week.