Amid surge in COVID cases PM reviews situation

New Delhi: Taking note of the alarming rate of growth of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country with 10 states contributing more than 91 per cent of cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, chairing a high-level meeting on Sunday, directed that the “mission-mode” approach be continued in states and districts reporting high cases.

Reviewing the pandemic situation and vaccination programme across the country, he exhorted all states to take required stringent measures with comprehensive restrictions in places so that the collective gains of Covid management in the country in the last 15 months are not squandered.

It was emphasised that the reasons for the sharper rise in cases could be mainly attributed to the severe decline in compliance of Covid-appropriate behaviour, primarily in terms of use of masks and maintaining ‘2 Gaj ki Doori’, pandemic fatigue and lack of effective implementation of containment measures at the field level.

Although the exact contribution of mutant strains to the escalation of cases in some states remains speculative, the measures to control the pandemic remain the same and hence, implementation of various protocols for Covid-19 management are all the more critical in those areas.

The Prime Minister stressed on the need for awareness of the community witnessing high surge to curb the spread. “Public involvement is paramount and there is a need to continue Jan Bhagidari and Jan Andolan for Covid-19 management.”

He mentioned that the five-fold strategy of Testing, Tracing, Treatment, Covid appropriate behaviour, and Vaccination, if implemented with utmost seriousness and commitment, would be effective in curbing the spread of the pandemic.

In the review meeting, it was decided to hold a special campaign for Covid appropriate behaviour with emphasis on 100 per cent mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation at public places, workplaces and health facilities. The campaign will be organised from April 6 to 14.

The Prime Minister highlighted the need to enforce Covid appropriate behaviour in the coming days and ensure the availability of beds, testing facilities and timely hospitalisation.

He called for avoiding mortality under all circumstances by ramping up healthcare infrastructure, availability of oxygen, ventilators besides required logistics, and ensuring that clinical management protocols are followed across all hospitals as well as for those in-home care.

He directed that central teams consisting of public health specialists and clinicians be sent to Maharashtra in view of high case load and deaths, and likewise to Punjab and Chhattisgarh because of the disproportionate number of deaths being reported there.

The Prime Minister especially highlighted the need to ensure effective implementation of containment measures, besides the involvement of community volunteers in active case search and management of containment zones.

Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh are of serious concern with their highest contribution in Covid cases. As of date, Maharashtra has contributed 57 per cent of total cases in the last 14 days and 47 per cent of deaths during the same period.

In Maharashtra, the total number of new cases per day has touched 47,913 which is more than double its earlier peak. Punjab has contributed 4.5 per cent of the total number of cases in the country in the last 14 days. However, it has contributed 16.3 per cent of the total number of death, which is a matter of serious concern.

Similarly, though Chhattisgarh has only contributed 4.3 per cent of total cases in the country over the last 14 days, its contribution in total death has exceeded 7 per cent during the same period. The 10 high burden states and UTs are contributing 91.4 per cent of total cases and 90.9 per cent of total deaths in the country.

The meeting was held at a time when India recorded 93,249 new cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day spike since September 2020, taking the total tally to 1,24,85,509.

It was suggested that daily analysis of vaccination performance should be shared with states and UTs as feedback for corrective actions.

The meeting was informed that vaccine manufacturers are ramping up their production capacity and are also in discussion with other domestic and offshore companies to augment it. The focus was to make all efforts to secure adequate quantities of vaccines to meet the rising domestic requirements as well as to meet the genuine needs of other countries in the spirit of “Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam”.

The meeting was attended by the Principal Secretary to PM, the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Chairperson of the Empowered group on Vaccine Administration, the Health Secretary, the Pharmaceuticals Secretary, the Biotechnology Secretary, the AYUSH Secretary, the DG ICMR, the Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt, and Member NITI Aayog, besides other officials.

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