Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday urged people to stay alert against the new coronavirus variant Omicron, which is now wreaking havoc across the globe. Since being identified in southern African countries, Omicron is spreading fast and is being touted to be more dangerous than Delta, the dominant strain.
“We have administered more than 100 crore doses of Covid vaccines during the challenging times of the pandemic. Now we are moving towards 150 crore doses. The news of the emergence of a new coronavirus variant makes us more alert. We all should stay alert in view of the new variant of Covid-19,” PM Modi said in his address ahead of the beginning of the winter session of Parliament.
He said the government’s priority is the good health of the countrymen.
The Prime Minister also announced the extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana to provide free grains and the scheme till March 2022.
“We are running the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana to provide free grains to more than 80 crore people of the country so that they don’t face more problems. The scheme has now been extended to March 2022. With is the cost of nearly ₹2,60,000 crore, the scheme assures that over 80 crore people have food to cook in their home,” the Prime Minister said while addressing the media persons.
Under the scheme, the government provides 5kg foodgrains per person per month free of cost ration to maximum 81.35 crore beneficiaries covered under NFSA (Antyodaya Anna Yojana and Priority Households) including those covered under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
PM Modi held a review meeting on Saturday, where the officials briefed him about Omicron, its characteristics and the impact seen in various countries. It has already been categorised as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), PM Modi highlighted the need for monitoring all international arrivals, their testing as per guidelines, with a specific focus on countries identified ‘at risk’. He also asked officials to review plans for easing of international travel restrictions in light of the emerging new evidence.