Omicron scare: PM Modi orders review of plans to ease international travel curbs

New Delhi: Days after the Centre announced the decision to ease curbs on travelers coming from foreign countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (November 27) asked the top government officials to review the order.

This comes amid the threat of the new COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ that was first reported in South Africa and was later found in countries such as Botswana, Belgium, Israel etc.

In a statement after Modi’s meeting with government officials over COVID situation which lasted for almost 2 hours, the PMO said that he was briefed about the new ‘Variant of Concern’ Omicron along with its characteristics and the impact seen in various countries.

“PM spoke about the need to be proactive in light of the new variant. PM said that in light of the new threat, people need to be more cautious and the need to take proper precautions like masking & social distancing,” said PMO in a statement.

“PM highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’. PM also asked officials to review plans for easing international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence,” it added.

PM was apprised of the progress in vaccination and the efforts being made under the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ campaign, said PMO, adding “PM directed that there is a need to increase the second dose coverage and that states need to be sensitised on the need to ensure that all those who have got the first dose are given the second dose timely.”

The meeting was attended by Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, AK Bhalla, Home Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary (MoHFW), Secretary (Pharmaceuticals), Dr Rajesh Gokhale, Secretary (Biotechnology), and Dr Balram Bhargava, DG ICMR etc.