Amid the surge in coronavirus cases in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday met the Chief Ministers as the centre attempts to ramp up vaccination drive.

PM Modi in the meeting with the Chief Ministers said that the pandemic could create a ‘national outbreak’ like situation if not stopped.

He said, “If we do not stop this pandemic, it might create a national outbreak-like situation. We must stop the rising second peak of COVID at an earliest. For this, we need to take quick and decisive steps.”

The PM interacted with the chief ministers via a video conference. The meeting was skipped by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who is campaigning for the upcoming Assembly polls in the state while Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel was also not present for this meeting.

India, in the last 24 hours, has recorded 28,903 Covid-19 cases, its highest daily rise since December 11 when it recorded 30,254 cases. With this fresh surge, the country’s total coronavirus cases stand at 1,14,38,734 and 1,59,044 deaths. In the last 24 hours, 188 deaths have been reported.

Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu collectively account for 71.10 per cent of the new cases. Maharashtra alone accounts for 61.8 per cent of the daily new cases with 17,864 Covid-19 cases. Of the other states, Punjab reported 1,463, Karanataka reported 1,135 and Gujarat reported 954 cases.

The average number of Covid-19 cases is at an 81-day high and cases are now rising in 19 districts compared to four just a month ago.

The Union Health Ministry has said that out of the 19 districts, 15 are from Maharashtra. The Centre on Tuesday told Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government that the state was ‘in the beginning of a second wave of Covid’ and that there was a lock of ‘Covid-appropriate behaviour’ and ‘tracking and testing of cases.’

The other places where cases are surging are Bengaluru Urban in Karnataka, Indore in Madhya Pradesh and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

In the last interaction with the Chief Ministers, PM Modi had discussed the vaccine roll-out, beginning with healthcare and frontline workers in the first round.

So far, 3,50,64,536 doses of corona vaccine have been administered in the country since the drive began on January 16. More than 21 lakh doses were administered on Tuesday.