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People ask what about third wave, it’s up to us to stop it, can’t compromise even a bit: PM Modi

“It is true that tourism and business have been greatly affected due to corona. But today, I will say very strongly that it is a matter of grave concern to see people without masks in the market and not following the protocol in hill stations. This is not right,” he said.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |
Updated: July 14, 2021 7:26:56 am
Police try to regulate the queue for Covid-19 vaccination at Bhartia Hospital in Fatehpur, Rajasthan, Tuesday. (PTI)

Taking serious note of the rampant violation of coronavirus norms reported from hill stations and markets over the last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned Tuesday that a “third wave will not come on its own” and that the key to prevent another surge is not predicting when it will come but adhering strictly to safety protocols.

Modi’s remarks came during his interaction with Chief Ministers of Northeastern states.

“It is true that tourism and business have been greatly affected due to corona. But today, I will say very strongly that it is a matter of grave concern to see people without masks in the market and not following the protocol in hill stations. This is not right,” he said.

Referring to the “argument” that people “want to enjoy before the third wave arrives”, the Prime Minister said: “It is important to make people understand that the third wave will not come on its own. Sometimes people ask the question, ‘What are the preparations for the third wave? What will you do for the third wave?.’ Today, the question should be in our mind on how to stop the third wave from coming. How to execute our protocols efficiently.

“And this coronavirus is such a thing that it does not come on its own. It comes if someone goes and brings it. If we take equal care of these things, then we will be able to stop the third wave also.”

In this regard, Modi underlined the role of administrations. “We cannot compromise even a bit…Experts are also repeatedly warning that due to inattention, carelessness, overcrowding, there can be a huge surge in the infection. And that is why it is important that at every level, every step is taken seriously. We should try to stop events with more crowds,” he said.

Referring to the Northeast, Modi said the region should focus on micro-containment and step up its vaccination drive. He advised the Chief Ministers to ensure adequate manpower for operating the new oxygen plants coming up and focus on building temporary hospitals, given the logistical challenge of setting up infrastructure.

According to Health Ministry data, there are 37 districts from the Northeast in the 58 that reported a positivity rate higher than 10 per cent between July 5 and July 11.

Tuesday’s interaction included the Chiefs Ministers of Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam. Modi said that in “some districts of the North East…an increase in the cases of infection is being registered”. “We have to catch these early signals; we need to be more alert,” he said.

Highlighting the strategy of micro-containment, the Prime Minister said: “To prevent the spread of infection, we have to take more strict steps at the micro-level and right now Hemanta Ji (Assam CM Hemanta Biswa Sarma) was telling that he did not choose the path of lockdown, (but) chose the path of micro containment zone, created more than 6,000 micro-containment zones. Because of this, responsibility can be fixed. You can ask the person who is in charge of a micro-containment zone about how things went wrong.”

Modi also said the region should increase its vaccination rate “to combat the third wave”.

Raising concerns over the challenges being posed by new variants, he said: “We also have to keep an eye on every variant of the coronavirus because it is very deceptive. It changes frequently due to which it poses challenges for us, too.”

The Prime Minister also raised the issue of increasing RT PCR testing in the region. “Testing infrastructure will have to be increased on priority in every district of the North East, especially in the more affected districts. Not only this, along with random testing, we must also take steps regarding aggressive testing in clustered blocks,” he said.

Modi told the Chief Ministers to prepare manpower to operate the PSA oxygen plants that are coming up in the region. “About 150 plants have been approved for the North East. I urge all of you that this should be completed as soon as possible, there should not be an obstacle,” he said.

“Considering the geographical location of the North East, it is also very important to build temporary hospitals… Trained manpower is also necessary to run the oxygen plants that are being set up, the ICU wards being built, the new machines being delivered to the block-level hospitals. Whatever help you need related to this, the Central Government will provide it,” Modi said.

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