Covid-19: Indians told to mask up amid China coronavirus surge

Image credit: Tribune

As the nation ramps up case surveillance, India’s health minister has advocated for a return to COVID-appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks in public.

The public has also been urged to be immunised and receive booster shots by top health officials.

Following a decrease in infection rates, India modified its mask-wearing regulations earlier this year.

However, a spike in cases in China’s neighbour has raised the country’s warning level.

India identified four COVID-19 instances over the past six months that were brought on by BF.7, the Omicron subvariant connected to a rise in cases in China.

Health officials have reported that the patients in the four cases—three in the state of Gujarat and one in Odisha—have recovered. The cases were discovered in July, September, and November.

Government statistics show that India only has about 3,400 active coronavirus infections right now, but news of the rise in China has alarmed many people.

India, which had two fatal COVID waves in 2020 and 2021, does not need an alarm, according to several experts.

Mansukh Mandaviya, India’s health minister, reviewed the country’s COVID situation on Wednesday and urged people to use masks, keep social distance, often wash their hands, and get immunised.

Leading government health advisor VK Paul urged people to use masks and obtain booster injections on Wednesday. Indians have largely ceased donning masks in public areas after more than two years of observing the tight COVID guidelines.

The Indian Express newspaper also stated that instructions had been sent to resume random testing of foreign travellers at airports, citing anonymous government officials.

In November, the government loosened its regulations on air travel, making it optional for travellers to wear masks on flights, “though preferred,” and requiring overseas travellers to be completely immunised. There hasn’t yet been any official declaration that the rules for flying have changed.

The federal government also requested on Tuesday that states transmit Covid samples from all patients who tested positive to the labs run by INSACOG, a group within the health ministry that researches and keeps track of the various strains of Covid in India.

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