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PM asks CMs to bring Covid positivity rate below 5%, calls for more RT-PCR tests

Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a virtual meeting with Chief Ministers of eight states where Covid-19 cases have seen a sudden spurt after the festive season, in New Delhi. Home Minister Amit Shah is also seen (PTI)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a virtual meeting with Chief Ministers of eight states where Covid-19 cases have seen a sudden spurt after the festive season, in New Delhi. Home Minister Amit Shah is also seen (PTI)

  • PM Modi noted that special emphasis of the PM CARES Fund has been to make oxygen available and that the process for establishing more than 160 new oxygen plants is underway
  • Carelessness crept in among some people in dealing with COVID-19, we now have to work to spread awareness again, Modi tells CMs

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday chaired a high-level meeting with Chief Ministers of all States and UTs, via video conferencing, to review the status and preparedness of Covid-19 response and management, with special emphasis on eight states with higher caseload. These states were Haryana, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal. The modalities of Covid-19 vaccine delivery, distribution and administration were also discussed during the meeting.

Ramping up health infrastructure

"Prime Minister remarked that the country has faced the pandemic through concerted efforts and in terms of both recovery rate and fatality rate, the situation in India is better than most other countries," said Prime Minister's Office in an official statement. He talked about the expansion of the testing and treatment network, and noted that special emphasis of the PM CARES Fund has been to make oxygen available. He said that efforts are on to make medical colleges and district hospitals self-sufficient in terms of oxygen generation, and informed that the process for establishing more than 160 new oxygen plants is underway.

Four stages of people’s response

Stating that it is important to understand how the people have reacted to the pandemic, the Prime Minister noted that it can be broken down to four stages. The first was of fear, when people reacted in panic. The second stage saw cropping up of doubts about the virus, when several people tried to hide that they had been afflicted by it. The third stage was of acceptance, when people became more serious about the virus and displayed greater alertness. In the fourth stage, with increasing recovery rate, people have developed a false notion of security from the virus, thus leading to rise in instances of negligence. Prime Minister emphasized that it is of utmost importance to increase awareness about the seriousness of the virus in this fourth stage. He noted that the trend of increase in spread of the pandemic in countries where its impact was earlier lessening, is being seen in some States as well, which necessitates greater alacrity and caution by the administration.

Modi noted that it is important to increase RT-PCR tests, ensure better monitoring of patients, especially those in home isolation, better equip health centres at village and community level and keep running awareness campaigns for safety from the virus. He said that the target should be to bring down fatality rate below 1% and the positivity rate needs to be below 5%.

Ensuring smooth, systematic and sustained vaccination

Prime Minister reassured that the government is keeping a close watch on the development of vaccines and is in contact with Indian developers and manufacturers, along with global regulators, governments of other countries, multilateral institutions and international companies. He added that it will be ensured that the vaccine for citizens will meet all necessary scientific criteria. He underlined that just like the focus in the fight against COVID has been on saving each and every life, the priority will be to ensure that the vaccine reaches everyone. Governments at all levels will have to work together to ensure that the vaccination drive is smooth, systematic and sustained, he said.

Prime Minister noted that the priority of vaccination is being decided in consultation with the states. The requirements of additional cold chain storages has also been discussed with the states. He asked the Chief Ministers to ensure regular monitoring of State Level Steering Committee and State & District Level Task Force to ensure better results.

Chief Ministers speak

The Chief Ministers praised the leadership of the Prime Minister and thanked the Central Government for providing necessary assistance in improving health infrastructure in the States. They provided detailed feedback of the ground situation in their states. They gave an overview of the rise in number of cases, discussed issues like post-COVID complications, measures taken to increase testing, steps initiated like testing being done at state borders, going from home to home to conduct tests, curbs being put to reduce size of public gatherings, imposition of curfews and other crowd restrictive measures, awareness campaigns being run and steps taken to increase usage of masks. They also discussed and gave suggestions about the vaccination drive.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan gave a presentation on the current COVID situation and shared details about preparedness. He discussed targeted testing, tracing and testing all contacts within 72 hours, increasing RT-PCR testing, efforts to improve the health infrastructure and fine tuning of data reported from the States. Dr. V.K. Paul, Member, NITI Ayog, gave a presentation on delivery, distribution and administration of the vaccine.

The crucial meeting comes in the backdrop of India reporting 37,975 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours and 480 deaths due to the disease, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday.

The total cases in the country now stands at 91,77,841 including 86,04,955 recoveries and 4,38,667 active cases. With 480 new deaths, the cumulative toll reached 1,34,218.

The country is reporting around 30,000 to 47,000- daily new cases for the past some days. Today is the seventeenth day when India reported less than 50,000 cases in a day. The last time daily new cases crossed the 50,000-threshold was on November 7.

Maharashtra continues to be on the top in the list of worst-COVID affected states with 82,915 active cases, followed by Kerala with 64,292 active cases.

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