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PM Modi meets CMs to discuss rising covid-19 cases, suggests increased testing

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting with chief ministers of all states and Union territories over the spike in COVID-19 cases. (PTI)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a meeting with chief ministers of all states and Union territories over the spike in COVID-19 cases. (PTI)

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern over rising cases in some states and emphasised the emerging second peak of covid-19 infections has to be contained immediately
  • The prime minister said that the states will have to increase RT–PCR tests to control the pandemic by tracing infected people

NEW DELHI: Amidst sudden swelling of covid-19 cases across the country after a brief decline, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday told states to stop the emerging "second peak" of coronavirus immediately.

The Prime Minister interacted with the chief ministers of various states to discuss the containment strategy of covid-19 pandemic via video conference. The prime minister expressed concern about the high positivity rate in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh (MP) and rising cases in Punjab and Maharashtra. “70 districts of the country witnessed 150% rise in the last few weeks. This emerging "second peak" of coronavirus has to be stopped immediately. If we do not stop this growing pandemic now, then a country-wide outbreak can occur," warned Modi.

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As per the health ministry data, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu continue to report a high number of daily new cases. They collectively account for 71.10% of the 28,903 new cases reported in the last 24 hours which is highest in last four weeks. 83.91% of the new cases are from Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Maharashtra alone accounts for 61.8% of the daily new cases with 17,864 cases. It is followed by Kerala with 1,970 while Punjab reported 1,463 new cases.

India’s total Active Caseload has crawled at 2.34 lakh comprising 2.05% of the total cases after coming down to 1.2% two months ago. Maharashtra, Kerala and Punjab account for 76.4% of India’s total active cases, with Maharashtra alone contributing nearly 60%.

In a bid to stop the emerging "second peak" of covid-19, the Prime Minister said that there is a need to take quick and decisive steps, stressing on the importance of solving the problems of local governance.

“The confidence which came from our achievements in the battle against covid-19 should not turn into negligence. The public should not be brought to panic mode and at the same time also get rid of trouble. There is a need to strategize by incorporating our past experiences, in our efforts," said Modi.

“There is a need for provision of micro containment zones. There is a need to be serious about 'Test, Track and Treat' as we have been doing for the last one year. It is very important to track every infected person's contacts in the shortest time and keep the RT-PCR test rate above 70%,’ he said.

The prime minister insisted on more RT-PCR tests in states which give more emphasis to Rapid antigen tests like Kerala, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and U.P. The Prime Minister urged to increase testing and to pay special attention to the "referral system" and "ambulance network" in small cities.

“Because now the whole country has opened up for travel and the number of people travelling has also increased," Modi said adding that there is a need for a new mechanism for sharing information among themselves. Similarly, responsibility of following the standard operating procedures (SOP) for surveillance of the contacts of the travellers coming from abroad have also increased. “We need to identify mutants of coronavirus and assess their effects," he said.

Modi outlined the increasing pace of covid-19 vaccination in the country and the vaccination rates crossing more than 3 million vaccinations in a single day. But at the same time, the prime minister warned to take the problem of vaccine doses wastage very seriously.

“The vaccine waste in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to the tune of 10%. There is a need to immediately correct the drawbacks of planning and governance at the local level to reduce vaccine waste," Modi said. He called for increasing the number of vaccination centres and asked to stay vigilant about the vaccine expiry date.

The Prime Minister summed up that along with the above steps the basic steps to prevent the spread of this infection are wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, taking care of cleanliness etc. “There should be no laxity in such steps and people's awareness will have to be raised on these subjects," Modi said insisting on ‘Dawai bhi aur kadai bhi".

Modi mentioned that more than 96% of the cases in India have recovered and India is having one of the lowest fatality rates in the world but the fight is still on to control the pandemic. The challenge of maintaining Covid appropriate behaviour in the general public was also discussed, in light of the recent rise in the number of cases in some states. The Chief Ministers during the meeting agreed on the requirement of greater vigilance and monitoring of the situation.

Home Minister Amit Shah listed out the districts on which the Chief Ministers need to put special focus, in order to contain the spread of the virus. The Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan gave a presentation on the current Covid-19 situation in the country and the vaccination strategy.

The chief ministers gave their inputs and suggestions to further expand the covid-19 vaccination coverage. While India as on Wednesday administered over 35 million doses to prevent people from contracting coronavirus, the highly infectious disease claimed 188 lives in the last 24 hours.

Six States account for 86.7% of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties (87). Punjab follows with 38 daily deaths. Kerala reported 15 deaths.

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