Mrunal Manmay Dash

In a major boost to India’s fight against Covid-19, an expert committee has given go ahead to nasal vaccine to combat the virus, doing away with the requirements of jabs, informed Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday.

Mandaviya said this while responding to queries of some Opposition MPs after his suo moto statement in Rajya Sabha on the latest COVID-19 situation and India's preparedness.

In the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases in many countries, India has started 2 per cent random sampling of international travellers coming to the country and may consider making it mandatory for all if necessary, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said today.

"We are constantly monitoring the situation. There are no direct flights between China and India but people come via other routes," PTI reported him saying in response to a query by Raghav Chadha of AAP on whether the government would ban direct flights from China.

Mandaviya said he has spoken to many countries and WHO about what all precautions are needed to be taken and also understand in which direction the pandemic is moving.

Mandaviya also said the focus of the government is to ensure that no unknown variant of the virus enters India and at the same time there is now impediment on travelling.

The minister assured the Upper House that all the oxygen plants are running and a review has also been done about the availability of medicines.

"We are prepared and ready to provide the requirement of medicines and vaccines in the country," he said.

He further said states have also been advised to focus on heightened surveillance within the community and to undertake requisite control and containment measures, increase the whole genome sequencing of all positive cases for timely detection of newer variants, if any.

(With agency inputs)