Modi cautions against holidaymakers crowding hill stations given the COVID-19 spread
New Delhi, July 13, 2021
Stressing the importance of strict monitoring of the COVID-19 virus mutation and keeping track of all variants, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today cautioned the people against crowding at the hill stations and other tourist spots without observing the proper precautions.
During a video interaction with Chief Ministers of the North-Eastern states on the pandemic situation, the Prime Minister said the “main question in our mind should be how to prevent the third wave.”
He suggested enlisting the help of social, educational institutes, celebrities and also the organizations of religious faith to tackle myths against vaccination. The North-East is important for the "Vaccination for All-Free for All" campaign, he added.
The Prime Minister noted that the recently approved Rs 23,000 crore package will help in improving medical infrastructure all over the country. He also requested the Chief Ministers to expeditiously complete the PM-CARES oxygen plants.
The Prime Minister’s interaction was attended by the Chief Ministers of Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam.
An official press release said the Chief Ministers thanked the Prime Minister for the timely action in handling the COVID pandemic and expressed appreciation for his special care and concern for the North-East States. Apart from the Chief Ministers, Union Ministers for Home, Defence, Health, DONER and other Ministers were present at the interaction.
The Chief Ministers briefed Modi about the progress of vaccination in their states and steps that are being taken to take vaccines to far-flung areas. They also discussed the issue of vaccine hesitancy and measures being taken to overcome it. They gave an account of improvement in medical infrastructure to tackle COVID cases and the support lent through the PM CARES Fund. They gave assurances about timely action to bring down the positivity rate as well as the number of cases in their States.
The Prime Minister lauded the people, health workers and the Northeastern state governments for their hard work in the fight against the pandemic and for creating infrastructure for testing, treatment and vaccination despite the difficult terrain of the states.
Expressing concern over the growing number of cases in some districts, he stressed the need to catch these signals and take strict actions at the micro-level. He emphasized the use of micro containment protocol in dealing with the situation and to make full use of the experience and best practices gathered over the past one and half years.
Noting the fast mutating nature of the virus, the Prime Minister advised strict monitoring of the mutation and stressed the need to keep track of all variants. The experts were studying the mutations and their impact. In such a scenario, prevention and treatment were critical, he said emphasizing COVID-appropriate behaviour.
The utility of physical distancing, mask and the vaccine was clear. Similarly, the strategy of testing, tracking and treatment was a proven strategy. Acknowledging the impact of the pandemic on tourism and business, Modi cautioned against crowding at hill stations and other tourist spots without observing proper precautions.
Rejecting the argument that people want to enjoy before the arrival of the third wave, he said it needed to be understood that the third wave will not come on its own. “The main question in our mind should be how to prevent the third wave. Experts are repeatedly warning against carelessness and crowding as they can lead to a massive surge in cases.
“In the ‘Vaccine for all-Free for all’ campaign of the central government, the Northeast has the same importance and we need to keep accelerating the vaccination process,” he added.
To deal with the myths about vaccination and mobilising people, the Prime Minister suggested enlisting the help of social, educational institutes, celebrities and also the religious organisations. He also called for accelerating the vaccination drive in the areas where the spread of the virus was expected.
Referring to the recent Cabinet approval of a Rs 23,000 crore package for improving the infrastructure for testing and treatment, the Prime Minister said that the package will help in strengthening the health infrastructure of the Northeast.
This package will expedite testing, diagnostics, genome sequencing in the Northeast. The Prime Minister stressed the need for a quick increase in the number of beds, oxygen facilities and paediatric care infrastructure in the Northeast.
Hundreds of oxygen plants were being established in the country through PM-CARES and the Northeast has got about 150 plants. He requested the Chief Ministers to complete the process of establishing these plants quickly.
Modi underlined the need to establish temporary hospitals due to the geographical situation of the Northeast. He stressed the need for trained manpower as oxygen plants, ICU wards, new machines that were reaching two block-level hospitals will need this manpower. He assured all help from the Central Government.
Noting the capacity of 20 lakh tests per day in the country, the Prime Minister highlighted the need to augment the testing infrastructure in the affected districts on priority. He stressed aggressive testing along with random testing. The Prime Minister expressed the hope that with the collective efforts, “we will surely be able to contain the spread.”
Union Home Minister Amit Shah talked about the reduction in the overall daily number of cases but forewarned that this should not lead to people becoming lax and letting their guard down. Some areas of the country were witnessing high positivity rates, he said.
The Union Health Secretary gave an overview of the Covid cases in the country and discussed the high positivity rate in some North-East states. He briefed the meeting about the steps taken to boost the supply of medical oxygen and also gave an overview of the progress of vaccination.