With a spurt in coronavirus cases reported in China, the United States and South Korea, India’s Health Ministry has asked States to bolster genome sequencing of coronavirus samples. Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya is also set to review India’s COVID-19 situation on Wednesday.
“In view of the spurt in positive cases, it is essential to gear up the whole-genome sequencing of positive case samples to track variants through Indian Sars Cov2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network. Such an exercise will enable timely detection of newer variants, if any,” said a letter to State governments signed by Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan on Tuesday.
India has been reporting around 1,200 cases a week with the COVID-19 tally since March 2020 at 4.4 crore. Currently, there are around 3,500 active infections.
The lifting of curbs in China, media reports suggest, has resulted in a spurt in infections. Though the official numbers reported out of the country continue to be low, there is reportedly a scramble for hospital beds and pharmacies running low on essential medicines in China. The country reported two deaths this week since December 3. Officially, in China, only 5,200 persons have died of COVID-19 in three years.
A leading epidemiologist in China, Wu Zonyu, has said that he expects a spike in cases lasting until early January and two other spikes in mid-January and February because of a rise in travel. Despite 90% of the population having been vaccinated, less than half of those over 80 years of age have been triple-vaccinated in China. Some reports project nearly a million deaths in China in the coming days from COVID-19.