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Covid: Banna appeals PM to stop international flights amid concerns of Omicron

Ranchi/Jamshedpur: Amid the fresh concerns over a new variant of covid-19 (Omicron), Jharkhand health minister Banna Gupta on Sunday appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to suspend international flights to India, especially from regions that are vulnerable to avoid a rerun of the crisis situation in the country witnessed during the second wave of the global pandemic. In a statement issued on Sunday, Gupta, who is an MLA from Jamshedpur (West) said that the state government too is on high alert and all the districts have been directed to intensify testing as well as vaccination of everyone to prevent spike in the covid cases.

He said, “We have seen how lethal the second wave of covid-19 turned out to be in this country. Therefore, it is imperative that preventive steps must be taken in advance before situation goes out of hands. The new covid variant must be stopped from entering into the country before it’s too late. Therefore, we must stop international flight movements from such countries where the new variant has been reported.”

Reported, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday classified a new variant of SARS-CoV-2, which is currently circulating in South Africa, as a ‘variant of concern’ naming it as Omicron. Netherlands too reportedly detected cases related to the new variant.

Gupta said that they too are treading cautiously and soon the government will hold high level meeting to chalk out mitigation plans. He however took a dig at BJP led government in the Centre targeting PM of laxity during the earlier waves. “Taking lessons from the past experiences, government of India must take proactive steps to prevent covid surge in the country. While PM often advices not to politicize the pandemic, but it was he and party led government which has been doing politics right from the beginning be it related to vaccine distribution between BJP and non-BJP ruled states, giving required assistance among others,” said Banna.