With states like Maharashtra reeling from an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases, India seems to be headed for a second wave of infection. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said as much when he expressed serious concerns over the rise in Coronavirus cases and called for immediate steps to reverse the trend. He also drew attention towards ‘vaccine wastage’. PM Modi on Wednesday chaired a high-level virtual meeting with chief ministers (CM) and health ministers of high-burden states to review the COVID-19 situation. Since India launched its COVID-19 vaccination drive on 16 January, this was the first interaction between the PM and the CMs.
The prime minister called for “quick and decisive” steps to stop the “emerging second peak of coronavirus infection.” On Wednesday, India recorded the year’s highest daily tally of Coronavirus cases with 28,903 new infections. Stressing the importance of ‘Test, Track and Treat’ strategy, Modi said that “If we don’t stop it here, a situation of the nationwide outbreak can emerge.” He called for ramping up testing in smaller towns and cautioned against the spread of the virus in villages.
While India has achieved several milestones in its COVID-19 vaccine drive- including inoculation of 3 million people in a single day- the PM said wastage of vaccine doses needs to be taken very seriously. He said over 10 per cent of vaccine wastage has been reported in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh states.
Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that 70 districts in 16 states have seen a 150 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in the last 15 days.
At least 83.91 per cent of the new cases have been reported from Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu. Maharashtra alone accounts for 61.8 per cent of the daily new cases. Amid an unprecedented hike in the COVID-19 cases in the country, these five states collectively account for 71.10 per cent of the new cases reported in the last 24 hours. Besides, for the first time since January, Delhi reported over 500 cases in a single day.
Reiterating his slogan ‘Dawai bhi, kadai bhi’ (Yes to medicine, Yes to caution), he said states will have to step up testing, focus on maximising vaccination and minimising wastage. He handed out a five-point plan to fight the imminent COVID-19 second wave.
PM asked for Covid-19- appropriate behaviour, creating micro-containment zones, increasing vaccination in both private and government hospitals and stopping vaccine wastage. He also asked states to scale up RT-PCR tests.
The virtual meeting with state Chief Ministers was held to discuss measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 infection across the country and to prevent the country from being engulfed in a COVID-19 second wave.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the state aims to vaccinate up to 3 lakh people daily, but would need the Centre’s assistance to meet the target. The state’s current vaccine stock can only last for 10 days, and the Centre must provide additional doses, he said.
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the state will impose stricter curbs from Thursday. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani also assured of doubling daily vaccination and controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the state with “concrete steps”.
The Central government has decided to put forward a proposal that the entire population above 45 years of ages should be administered the COVID-19 vaccine doses. For latest updated about COVID-19 vaccines, keep reading AlShorts, Short News in 30 Seconds.