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Modi calls for steps to stop the emerging 'second peak' of COVID-19
New Delhi, March 17, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today called for steps to stop the emerging "second peak" of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and warned that a countrywide outbreak could occur if the spread of the pandemic were not stemmed now.
Addressing a meeting of Chief Ministers of States via video conference, Modi noted that more than 96 per cent of the COVID-19 cases reported in India since January last year had recovered and the country had one fo the lowest fatality rates in teh world.
At the same time, he voiced concern about the high test positive rate in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and noted that as many as 70 districts of the country had witnessed a 150 per cent rise in new cases of infection in the last few weeks.
The Prime Minister called for quick and decisive steps to stop this emerging "second peak" and, noting that the seriousness of the local administration about the use of face masks was going down, stressed the need to immediately address the governance problems at the regional elvel.
He warned the confidence that came from the country's achievements in the battle against the coronavirus should not turn into negligence.
He stressed that the public should not be brought to panic mode but, at the same time, the problem needed to tackled. He said there was a need to strategiseand at the same time also get rid of trouble. He stressed the need to strategize by incorporating the country's past experiences in these efforts.
Modi emphasised the need for provision of micro-containment zones and said it was important to be serious about "Test, Track and Treat", just as it was being done for the last one year. He said it was very important to track every infected person's contacts in the shortest time and keep the RT-PCR test rate above 70 per cent. He called for more RT-PCR tests in states which give more emphasis to Rapid antigen tests like Kerala, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh.
Modi called for increased testing and for special attention to the "referral system" and "ambulance network" in small cities. He said this is because now the whole country has opened up for travel and the number of people travelling has also increased. He stressed the need for a new mechanism for sharing information among themselves.
Similarly, the responsibility of following the standard operating procedure (SOP) for surveillance of the contacts of travellers coming from abroad has also increased.
The Prime Minister said there was need to identify mutants of coronavirus and assess their effects. He lauded the continually increasing pace of vaccination in the country and the vaccination rates crossing more than 3 million vaccinations in a single day. But at the same time he warned to take the problem of vaccine doses wastage very seriously. He noted that the vaccine waste in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh was to the tune of 10 per cent. He urged them to immediately correct the drawbacks of planning and governance at the local level to reduce vaccine waste.
Modi summed up that, along with such measures, the basic steps to prevent the spread of the infection are wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, taking care of cleanliness, and so on.
He emphasized that there should be no laxity in such steps and people's awareness will have to be raised on these subjects. He called for increasing the number of vaccination centres and asked the authorities to stay vigilant about the vaccine expiry date.
An official press release said the Chief Ministers praised the leadership of the Prime Minister in the fight against COVID-19. They thanked him for the smooth implementation of the vaccination drive all across the country, while also giving their inputs and suggestions to further expand the vaccination coverage.
The challenge of maintaining COVID-appropriate behaviour in the general public was also discussed, in light of the recent rise in the number of cases in some states.
The Chief Ministers agreed on the requirement of greater vigilance and monitoring of the situation.
The Home Minister listed out the districts on which the Chief Ministers need to put special focus, in order to contain the spread of the virus.
The Union Health Secretary gave a presentation on the current COVID-19 situation in the country and the vaccination strategy.