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PM Modi Reviews Covid Situation, Centre May Recommend Masks

NEW DELHI — Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chairs a high-level meeting with top officials to review the situation related to Covid-19 in the country.

The national capital on Wednesday reported five Covid cases in the last 24 hours, while one new Covid-related death was also reported, as per the government health bulletin.

According to media reports after the meeting, states are likely to be issued a note advising them to stress on masks and social distancing and prevent crowds during Christmas and New Year celebrations.

Earlier on Wednesday, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya reviewed the situation in the wake of Covid surge in China and other countries. He chaired a meeting of top officials and later asked people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, including wearing masks in crowded places, and getting vaccinated.

The Covid positivity rate in Delhi was recorded 0.19 per cent and the total number of active cases stood at 27, according to official data.

The government has already started random testing of visitors from abroad. Sources say infrastructure for quarantine and testing is likely to be reestablished in the next seven days, say reports.

Two cases of the BF.7 variant were reported in Gujarat and two in Odisha. The cases were reported in July, September and November.

Both patients in Gujarat were treated in home isolation and have fully recovered now, said the state’s health department.

According to reports, there are 10 Covid variants in the country at present, the latest being BF.7.

BF.7 is a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant BA.5 and is highly contagious, has a shorter incubation period, and has a higher capacity to cause reinfection or infect even those vaccinated, news agency PTI reported.

The Centre has asked states to step up genome sequencing and to send samples of all Covid-positive cases to the labs of INSACOG, a forum under the Health Ministry to study and monitor various Covid strains. (With media inputs)

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