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Amid a surge in coronavirus infections across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday emphasised the need for local containment to arrest the spread of Covid-19 during a review meeting with the chief ministers of all states and Union territories.

“While making any strategy, it is very important to keep in mind that there should be minimal damage to the livelihood of the common people, economic activities, the momentum of the economy should be maintained," said the PM. 

“So, it would be better to focus more on local containment," he added. 

Further, speaking about the new Omicron Covid-19 variant, he said that the initial skepticism about Omicron slowly getting cleared. “The new strain Omicron is infecting people several times faster than previous ones," said PM Modi. 

In view of this, Modi said we need to be alert and careful, but also have to ensure that there is no panic situation.

“We have to see that in this festive season, the alertness of the people and the administration does not fall short," he said. 

“The way the central and state governments had earlier adopted pre-emptive, pro-active and collective approach, the same is the mantra of victory this time as well," he added. 

Talking about India's vaccination drive, the PM said that inoculation is the biggest weapon against the Covid-19 pandemic. 

“It is a matter of pride for every Indian that today India has given the first dose to about 92% of the adult population. The coverage of the second dose has also reached around 70% in the country," he said. 

“Within 10 days, India has also vaccinated about 30 million of its adolescents. This shows India's potential, shows our preparedness to deal with this challenge," he added. 

The interaction, held via video conferencing, is the first between the PM and state CMs this year. 

Union home minister Amit Shah and health minister Mansukh Mandaviya also attended the meeting.

The meeting came on a day India logged 2,47,417 new infections, the highest in 236 days, taking the total tally of Covid-19 cases to 3,63,17,927, which included 5,488 cases of the Omicron variant, according to the Union health ministry.

The third wave of Covid infections in India is being fueled, in part, by the significantly more transmissible Omicron variant that was first reported in South Africa in November last year.

India's first case was on 2 December and, as of this morning, nearly 5,000 have been confirmed. Experts, though, warn the number could be far higher given the slow pace of genome sequencing.

Fresh curbs have been imposed in various parts of the country to check the spread of the highly transmissible virus.

Prior to this, PM Modi in a high-level meeting on Sunday directed intensive containment and active surveillance in clusters reporting higher Covid cases due to Omicron.

He had then stressed the need to ensure adequate health infrastructure at the district level. He asked officials to maintain coordination regarding this with the states.

 

 

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