Updated: March 17, 2021 9:40:49 pm
Expressing concern over the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in some states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said the relative success of India in dealing with the pandemic should not give way to “carelessness” and people should seriously follow the ‘Test, Track and Treat’ formula to stop this emerging “second peak” of the virus.
PM Modi, who was addressing the chief ministers of different states through video conferencing, said failing to stop the rising second peak of the virus might create a national outbreak-like situation and quick and decisive steps are the need of the hour.
“The number of cases is increasing in some states. This increase is more than 150 percent in 70 districts of the country. We must stop this emerging “second peak” of Corona immediately,” he said.
“The position we have reached in the fight against corona, the confidence we have now, should not give way to carelessness,” he added.
The prime minister also stressed the need to scale up the rate of RT-PCR tests, with a special focus on small cities and towns. “We need to be as serious about ‘Test, Track and Treat’ as we have been doing for the last one year. Contacts of every infected person have to be tracked as soon as possible and RT-PCR test rate has to be kept higher than 70 per cent,” he said.
“In several states, rapid antigen testing is being stressed upon which needs transformation. Every state in the country needs to stress more on RT-PCR test,” he added.
Speaking on the ongoing vaccination drive, PM Modi said the country has crossed the figure of vaccinating 3 million people in a single day. However, certain states are reporting 10 per cent vaccine wastage, he said.
“We have to take the problem of wastage of vaccine doses very seriously. There should be zero wastage of vaccine,” the PM said, adding that there is a need to increase vaccination centers both in the private and public sectors.
The meeting was also attended by Home Minister Amit Shah. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel skipped the meeting.
Institutes in all states to be encouraged to produce more vaccines: Modi
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that his state would double the number of people being vaccinated per day.
An official release said Rupani and state Deputy CM Nitin Patel attended a virtual meeting with the PM to discuss the latest coronavirus situation. During the meet, Rupani told the PM that the state’s machinery was fully prepared to control the spread of the virus with “concrete steps and intensive vaccination drive” said the release.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray during the meeting sought approval for starting more vaccination centres to expedite inoculation in the state and demanded that Mumbai-based Haffkine Institute be allowed to produce the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to an official statement, Thackeray raised the demand during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction via video conferencing with chief ministers of some states amid the surge in Covid-19 cases.
The PM promptly said institutes in all states which can produce the vaccine will be encouraged, according to the statement.
Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa said Modi has asked him to focus on Bengaluru, Kalaburagi and Bidar in view of the rising cases in these regions.
Addressing reporters after the Prime Minister’s video conference, Yediyurappa said people should follow the appropriate guidelines. “As cases are going up in Bengaluru, Kalaburagi and Bidar which are located at the border of Maharashtra, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked us to focus on these three districts,” Yediyurappa told reporters.
He, however, said there was no need to panic as the cases were well under control.
During the meeting, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh called for inoculation of school and college students and teachers, judges, bus drivers and conductors, sarpanches, mayors, municipal committee presidents, councillors, MLAs and MPs to pave the way for normalisation of crucial activities and to check Covid-19 super-spreaders.
He also advocated early opening of courts to end the wait for justice, and also of schools and colleges to bridge the gap between poor and affluent families in terms of education, according to a government statement.
(With inputs from PTI)