In the wake of an increase in Monkeypox cases in the nation, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya stated on Tuesday that public should not worry and that an awareness campaign is being undertaken in partnership with state governments to prevent the sickness from spreading.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha today during the ongoing Monsoon session of the Parliament, the Union Minister said, “There is no need to be afraid of monkeypox, an awareness campaign is being run in collaboration with the state governments: Public awareness is very necessary in the context of monkeypox. We have also formed a task force under the chairmanship of a member of NITI Aayog on behalf of the Government of India.”
“On the basis of the observations of the task force, we will assess and study the further action to be taken. If the state government of Kerala needs any kind of help from the Central government, it will be given. Also, an expert team of the Central government is guiding the state government from time to time,” he said.
The Union Minister highlighted that when (Monkeypox) cases started appearing in the world, India had already started preparations. “Before the first case in Kerala, we had issued guidelines to all the states,” he said.
The Health Minister said that it has been written to the governments at the international level that the screening report of the travellers should also be sent to the respective authorities concerned. “If someone in the family has had Monkeypox, then keeping a distance from him for 12-13 days is advised and thus, the spread can be controlled. With constant vigilance, we can control it well,” he said.
Noting that the first case of Monkeypox in India was reported in Kerala, the Health Minister said, “When the case came to Kerala, we sent an expert team, helped the state government. Contact tracing was done. Just like we exercised caution in the case of COVID-19, we are also doing our best to implement what we learned in battling Monkeypox,” Mandaviya said.
Recalling that Monkeypox is not a new disease, the Union Minister said that since the 1970s, a lot of cases are being seen in the world from Africa. “WHO has paid special attention to this. Monitoring has started in India also,” he said.
Highlighting that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is willing to make available a vaccine to contain the impact of Monkeypox, the minister said, “For the first in the country, the monkeypox virus strain has been isolated by the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology, Pune. The institution has invited an Expression of Interest (EOI), proposing to hand over the strain to industry partners for the development of indigenous vaccine and diagnostic kits for the disease.”