Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the increasing number of Covid cases in Kerala and Maharashtra is becoming a cause of concern at a time when the country is apprehending the onslaught of a third pandemic wave.
PM Modi made the statement while conducting a meeting with the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra, and Kerala. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and health minister Mansukh Mandaviya were also present.
Modi said: “All of us are at a point where apprehensions of the third wave are continuously expressed. Despite experts giving positive signals due to the downward trends, the increasing number of cases in a few states is still worrisome.”
The Prime Minister pointed out that in the last week, 80 per cent of Covid cases including 84 per cent of “unfortunate” deaths, occurred in the states present in the meeting.
“Initially, experts believed that states where the second wave originated, will see the normalisation first. However, increasing numbers in Kerala and Maharashtra are the cause of grave worry,” he said.
PM Modi cautioned that similar trends were seen in January-February before the second wave and insisted states that are witnessing a rise in Covid cases, take proactive measures to prevent the possibility of the third wave.
He underlined the experts’ view that if the cases keep on rising for a long time, chances of mutation of the coronavirus will also increase and dangers of new variants will also rise.
“We need to continue with the strategy of ‘test, track, treat and teeka’ (vaccination) while putting special focus on micro-containment zones. Districts with large numbers should be focussed on,” Modi said.
He said vaccines are a strategic tool for high infection areas and stressed the effective use of vaccination. Modi praised the states that are using this time to improve their RT-PCR testing capacity.
Referring to the recently-approved Rs 23,000 crore emergency Covid response package, the Prime Minister asked the states to use the funds to strengthen medical infrastructure.
Modi emphasised the need to protect children from being infected and make all possible arrangements in this regard. In metropolitan cities with a dense population, people need to follow protocols and avoid crowding. He called upon political parties, social organisations, and NGOs to spread awareness among people.
The Prime Minister noted with concern the rise of the number of cases in Europe, the US, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and many other countries. “This should alert us and the world,” he said, reiterating that covid is not over. He expressed deep concern over the pictures of Covid norms violations that are coming post lockdown.
Meanwhile, the chief ministers of the states concerned, briefed PM Modi on steps that are being taken to contain the spread of the virus in their respective states. feedback on the vaccination drive was also provided.