“Quick and decisive steps”: PM calls out in wake of 150% surge in Covid-19 cases in 70 districts
Citing the emerging second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the states to take “quick and decisive steps” to stop the peak.
Prime Minister Modi told the Chief Ministers during a virtual meeting on Wednesday that a 150% surge in the number of Covid-19 cases was recorded in at least 70 districts. Furthermore, Mr. Modi noted that in order to control the emerging peak the needed steps include increasing the number of vaccination centers, reduce vaccine wastage, and expanding RT PCR tests with a focused approach in smaller cities.
Prime Minister Modi said “After showing a reduction in cases, some states are now reporting a sudden surge in cases… We are also seeing Maharashtra and MP reporting very high test positivity rates. Even those districts, which had protected themselves until now and were safe zones, are showing signals (of rising in cases). Seventy districts of the country have witnessed a 150 percent rise in the last few weeks. If we do not stop this growing pandemic now, then a countrywide outbreak can occur. We need to take quick and decisive steps,”
Vaccination drive for the general public was opened on March 1. Prime Minister has flagged many concerns regarding the same. He said, “There has been an increase in the pace of vaccination in the country, and vaccination rates have crossed more than 3 million in a single day. But at the same time, we take the problem of wastage of vaccine doses very seriously.”
He pointed out around 10% vaccine wastage in states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh. “States have to examine why vaccines are being wasted. There has to be a mechanism for monitoring this every evening. By wasting doses of the vaccine, we are denying another beneficiary the right to get vaccinated. States have to immediately correct the drawbacks of planning and governance at the local level to reduce vaccine wastage. States have to target zero wastage,” he said.
Prime Minister further called on the states to open more vaccination centers and also be more vigilant around expiration dates of vaccines. The next agenda of the key point of concern was a surge in the number of cases in smaller cities that were safe zones earlier.
“We have to pay special attention that this time, those regions in the vicinity of tier 2 and tier 3 cities, which were not affected in the initial phase, are now being affected. If the virus reaches tier 2 and tier 3 cities, then it can also enter the villages, and handling the surge in villages can be very challenging. Therefore we have to increase testing in small cities; we have to pay special attention to the referral system, and to the ambulance network in small cities.” said Narendra Modi
Mr. Modi emphasized that still many states are giving more stress on rapid antigen tests that can give false negatives. He named states of Kerala, Odisha, UP, and Chhattisgarh who need to change their emphasis from rapid antigen to RT-PCR tests.
He said, “The seriousness of the local administration about the use of masks is going down. It is important to immediately address governance-related problems at the regional level. Why is it that districts recording low testing also have low vaccination coverage? This is a test of good governance. The confidence that came from our achievements in the battle against the coronavirus should not turn into negligence.”