Rise in Covid cases: Modi holds review meeting

XBB.1.16 variant could be driving recent rise

India has reported a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases over the past few days

India on 23 March recorded a single-day rise of 1,300 new Covid cases, the highest in 140
days, while the active cases have increased to 7,605, news agency PTI reported.

A day earlier on 22 March, Prime minister Narendra Modi had conducted a meeting to review the country’s preparedness to deal with a rising number of cases of influenza and
Covid-19 cases.

Stating that Covid was “far from over”, he laid emphasis on the need to follow Covid-
appropriate behavior and maintain respiratory hygiene. He took stock of lab surveillance, genome testing, and testing of all severe acute respiratory illness cases.

According to the health ministry’s website, 220.65 crore doses of Covid vaccine have been
administered to the citizens so far.

Former AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria was quoted by news websites as saying that
the new XBB.1.16 variant could be driving the recent rise. He, however, said there was no
need for panic as long it does not cause severe illness and deaths. New variants will keep
coming as the virus keeps on mutating over time and the XBB 1.16 is sort of a new kid on
the block, Guleria told news agency PTI in an interview.


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