He informed that ICMR has been conducting large-scale sequencing of nationally representative strains of SARS-CoV-2 virus collected over the past several months over different time-points and detailed results on mutations and evolution of the virus will be available in early October.
The Minister was answering questions posed by his social media interactors on the Sunday Samvaad platform. These questions covered a multitude of queries concerning not only the current situation of COVID but also the government’s approach to it and related topics like India’s growth in the field of Science.
Speaking on the concrete measures that have been planned to handle such public health emergencies in the future, he said ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ will strengthen the nation to an extent where it will be able to overcome any eventuality including another pandemic. He emphasized that ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ highlights the commitment of the Government for increased investments in Public Health and other health reforms to prepare India for future pandemics.
The Health Minister added that a major proposal is under consideration at the Expenditure Finance Committee level. They include strengthening surveillance of infectious diseases and outbreak response, establishment of dedicated infectious disease management hospital blocks in district hospitals and establishment of Integrated Public Health Laboratories.
On the matter of availability of Medical Oxygen in the country, Dr. Harsh Vardhan assured that there is enough Oxygen being produced in the country and that the Health Ministry is closely monitoring the situation. He took the occasion to remind everyone that the Health Ministry had dispatched Oxygen concentrators to the rural parts of the country specifically to avert the logistic issues coming to light.