Updated: January 10, 2022 7:27:36 am
With the daily count of new Covid cases touching 1.75 lakh on Sunday, the highest single-day tally in 226 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level review meeting with his Cabinet colleagues and top officials, and decided to convene a meeting of chief ministers to discuss “state-specific scenarios, best-practices and the public health response”.
At Sunday’s meeting, which was also attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, the Prime Minister listed health infrastructure at the district level, use of masks and effective implementation of home isolation in mild cases as key measures to tackle the surge.
Had extensive discussions on the prevailing COVID-19 situation. Reviewed the preparedness of healthcare infrastructure, the vaccination drive, including for youngsters between 15 and 18, and ensuring continuation on non-COVID healthcare services. https://t.co/2dh8VFMStK
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 9, 2022
The rapid spread of the coronavirus infection continued, meanwhile, with over 1.75 lakh cases being reported by states.
Among key cities, the surge in Mumbai showed some signs of stabilising with a slight dip in cases for the second successive day. On Sunday, the city recorded 19,474 new cases, compared to 20,318 the previous day. There has been no significant decline in the number of tests conducted in the last few days. The rise in cases in Mumbai has slowed down considerably after the city went past its previous peak a few days ago.
Along with Delhi, Mumbai was the first city to experience the surge during the third wave. Delhi, which had attained a much higher peak during the second wave, continued to see a rise in infections, with over 22,000 new cases being reported on Sunday.
Among states, West Bengal crossed the peak of the second wave on Sunday, the first to do so. It reported 24,287 new cases, well above the 20,846 that was recorded on May 14 last year.
With just about 60,000 to 70,000 samples being tested every day, far below what even Delhi is doing, nearly one in every three persons being tested in West Bengal is turning positive. The state’s daily tally is now second only to Maharashtra, which on Sunday reported over 44,000 cases.
Taking to Twitter after the review meeting, Modi posted: “Had extensive discussions on the prevailing Covid-19 situation. Reviewed the preparedness of healthcare infrastructure, the vaccination drive, including for youngsters between 15 and 18, and ensuring continuation on non-Covid healthcare services.”
According to an official statement, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan gave a “detailed” presentation at the meeting, highlighting the surge in cases currently being reported globally.
“The presentation brought attention to India’s consistent efforts towards the vaccination campaign, with 31% adolescents aged 15-18 years having been administered with the 1st dose so far within 7 days,” the statement said.
“This was followed by the status of Covid-19 in India highlighting various states and districts of concern, based on the surge in cases and high positivity being reported… Various predictive scenarios of peak cases were also presented,” said the statement.
The meeting also focused on support to states “to upgrade health infrastructure, testing capacity, availability of oxygen & ICU beds, and buffer stock of essential drugs” under the Emergency Covid Response Package, the statement said.
Modi “stressed on the need to ensure adequate health infrastructure at the district level. He asked officials to maintain coordination regarding this with the states”, it said.
According to the statement, the Prime Minister directed that intensive containment and active surveillance should continue in clusters reporting higher cases and technical support be provided to states that are reporting a higher number of cases.
“He highlighted the need to ensure effective usage of masks and physical distancing measures as a new normal to control the spread. PM further exhorted the need for effective implementation of Home Isolation for mild/ asymptomatic cases and to disseminate the factual information to the community at large,” the statement said.
Stressing on “continuity of non-Covid health services while managing Covid cases presently”, the Prime Minister also spoke about the need to leverage telemedicine to ensure availability of health related guidance to people in remote and rural areas”.
The Prime Minister suggested that the “vaccination coverage through precaution dose for healthcare workers, front line workers should also be taken up in mission mode”, the statement said.
The meeting was also attended by Union MoS Health Bharati Pravin Pawar, NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul, Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Home Secretary A K Bhalla and other senior officials.
Sunday’s meeting came even as India reported over 1.75 lakh new daily cases in the past 24 hours — the highest single-day count since May 27, 2021, when 1.86 lakh cases were logged — with the positivity rate remaining well over 10.21 per cent. The active case count, meanwhile, crossed the seven lakh mark.
According to a press release Sunday, a total of 3,623 cases of Omicron infection had been confirmed with Maharashtra reporting the highest of 1,009 cases followed by Delhi (513), Karnataka (441), Rajasthan (373) and Kerala (333).
This was the second such review meeting chaired by the Prime Minister in the last two weeks. On December 24, 2021, he reviewed the preparedness of health systems across the country to tackle the surge and called on people to be “satark and saavdhan (alert and cautious)”.
The latest meeting came a day before the launch of the “precautionary” third dose for healthcare workers, frontline workers and 60-plus population with comorbidities. Those who are eligible for the third dose — 39 weeks after getting their second jab — can either book an online appointment or walk in to any vaccination centre.
On December 25 last year, Modi had announced the third dose for the three categories — and vaccination of children in the 15-18 years age group from January 3. In the age-group 15-18 years, 2,29,49,780 crore first doses have been administered till Sunday morning.
PTI adds: On Monday, Union Minister Mandaviya will interact with health ministers of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat and Maharashtra, and the Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu to review the Covid situation amid a spike in infections, an official source said.
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