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Covid-19 challenge not over, need to stay alert: PM Modi to CMs

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that for early tracking of the variants, the local administration should conduct RT PCR tests on all hospitalised patients with influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |
Updated: April 28, 2022 1:53:37 am
PM Narendra Modi chaired a review meeting with several chief ministers amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country. (Screenshot)

THE CHALLENGE of Covid-19 is not fully over and the surge in cases in the past two weeks indicates that the country needs to stay alert, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday.

Interacting with chief ministers to review the Covid-19 situation in the country, the Prime Minister raised a red flag, specifically highlighting the surge in cases being witnessed in European countries triggered by sub-variants of Omicron.

“In some states, Covid-19 cases are once again increasing… it is clear that the challenge of Covid-19 is not fully over. We are seeing in European countries, how Omicron and its sub-variants can lead to a serious situation. In the last few months, in a few countries, due to these sub-variants we have seen many surges,” he said. “Compared to other countries, Indians have kept the situation relatively under control. Despite that, in the last two weeks, the way the cases are surging in a few states, it is a sign that we need to be alert.”

The Prime Minister emphasised that priority in the new phase of the pandemic should be to vaccinate all eligible children. He directed the states to run special vaccination campaigns, especially in the backdrop of children returning to school after a long break.

“After a long break, the schools have reopened in our country. Some parents are worried about the increase in cases in some places. There are reports of some schools reporting children being tested positive for Covid-19. However, it is a matter of satisfaction that many children have also received protection through the vaccines,” he said.

“Yesterday, the regulator gave permission to administer Covaxin for 6-12 years. It is our priority to vaccinate all the eligible child population. For this, we have to run special drives in the schools. We have to create awareness among the parents and the teachers about the importance of vaccination.”

He highlighted that the twin strategy of bringing the cases under control and allowing the economy to continue should remain the priority. “During the third wave, we witnessed more than three lakh daily cases. Every state handled these cases well. They also allowed economic and social activity to continue. This balance should be part of future strategy,” the Prime Minister said.

“Our scientists and experts are continuously monitoring the global situation. Based on their advice, we have to adopt a preemptive, proactive, and collective approach.”

The Prime Minister said that for early tracking of the variants, the local administration should conduct RT PCR tests on all hospitalised patients with influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness. “It was our priority to stop the infections right at the beginning. We have to continue to make this our priority now. We have to effectively implement the test, track and treat strategy. It is very important that we do 100% RT PCR testing on hospitalised patients with influenza-like illness and severe acute respiratory illness; all the positive cases should be sent for genome sequencing. By doing this, we will be able to detect the new variants.”

Modi reiterated that the states promote Covid-19 appropriate behaviour at social gatherings. “At the same time, we should ensure we don’t create panic among the public,” he said.

On medical infrastructure, the Prime Minister asked the states to ensure all the PSA oxygen plants, and hospital beds are made fully functional. “We have spoken about the up-gradation of health infrastructure. We have to ensure the up-gradation is completed swiftly. We are in a better position with respect to the availability of beds, ventilators, and the PSA oxygen plants. However, we have to ensure that all of these facilities are fully functional,” he said. “They have to be monitored and responsibility has to be fixed. If there are any gaps, it my request, that it should be verified at the top level. We also have to scale up our infrastructure and manpower in the medical colleges and district hospitals.”

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Wednesday’s meeting came in the backdrop of India’s active caseload touching 16,279. The country’s weekly positivity rate stands at .5 and 2,927 cases were reported in the past 24 hours.

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