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Health Minister Mandaviya Chairs High-Level Meeting on Preparedness for COVID-19 Variant JN.1 in India

In response to the emergence of the COVID-19 variant JN.1 in India, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya convened a virtual high-level meeting on Wednesday to evaluate the current status and preparedness for the evolving situation. The meeting was attended by MoS (Health) Prof SP Singh Baghel, Health Minister of Uttarakhand Dr. Dhan Singh Rawat, ICMR DG Dr. Rajeev Bahl, Member (Health) NITI Aayog Dr. V K Paul, and former WHO Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan.

As India grapples with a surge in fresh COVID-19 cases, the meeting aimed to foster a collaborative “Whole of Government” approach in close coordination among various states. The attendees discussed the importance of vigilance without causing panic and emphasized the need for comprehensive preparedness measures.

Minister Mandaviya stressed the significance of unity and collaboration, stating, “It is time to work together in a ‘Whole of Government’ approach, through closely working with each other. We need to be on the alert, but there is no need to panic.” He urged the implementation of mock drills for hospital preparedness, increased surveillance, and effective communication with the public. Notably, he proposed conducting mock drills in all hospitals every three months to enhance readiness.

Acknowledging the gravity of the situation, the Health Minister assured full support from the Central Government to the states. The meeting addressed the necessity of proactive measures, given the reported death of an individual in Karnataka’s Bengaluru on Wednesday, who was not only affected by COVID-19 but also had co-morbidities.

The gathering highlighted the collaborative efforts of state health ministers and key health officials, aiming to ensure a coordinated and efficient response to the challenges posed by the emerging COVID-19 variant. As India remains vigilant against the evolving scenario, the commitment to preparedness, regular mock drills, and enhanced communication strategies underscores the nation’s determination to combat the pandemic effectively.

The proactive approach advocated by Health Minister Mandaviya aligns with the evolving dynamics of the pandemic, emphasizing the need for continuous preparedness and a united effort in the face of emerging variants.

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