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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday ruled out a total lockdown to contain the second wave of covid, emphasizing instead on better vaccination, testing, and night curfews, even as several states complained of a severe vaccine shortage.

At a pandemic review meeting with chief ministers, Modi also called on states to observe a Tika Utsav, or vaccination festival, from 11 to 14 April, involving governors, celebrities, sportspersons and actors to create awareness about vaccination and covid-appropriate behaviour.

India didn’t have enough infrastructure in 2020 to deal with the outbreak of covid-19 but is now fully equipped to handle the crisis, Modi said.

“We have resources and experience now. We contained the pandemic earlier. We can do this again with test, track, treat and covid-appropriate behaviour," Modi said.

Modi also called for renaming night curfew as Corona Curfew to increase awareness about the disease. “We will need to concentrate on micro-containment zones. Night curfews have been effective in many other countries. The curfew timings can be from 9pm or 10pm till 5am," said Modi.

India reported 126,789 new cases in the past 24 hours, with 10 states—Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab—accounting for 84% of the new cases. Maharashtra reported the highest daily new cases at 59,907, followed by Chhattisgarh (10,310) and Karnataka (6,976).

At least 685 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours. Ten states account for 88% of the new deaths, with the highest deaths in Maharashtra (322), followed by Punjab (62).

Modi said many states have already crossed the peak of the first wave. “This is a serious concern. People have become complacent. In most states, the administration has also become complacent," Modi pointed out.

Modi called for at least 70% of covid tests to be done via RT-PCR. “Let the number of positive cases rise, but do maximum testing. Proper sample collection is important. As we test more, we need to bring down positivity rate below 5%," Modi said.

Modi took the second dose of covid-19 vaccine on Thursday. “Got my second dose of the covid-19 vaccine at AIIMS today. Vaccination is among the few ways we have to defeat the virus. If you are eligible for the vaccine, get your shot soon," he tweeted.

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