Stopping a third wave of Covid-19 a priority, says PM Modi

Stopping a third wave of COVID-19 cases is a "priority", Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the chief ministers of six states during a virtual interaction on Friday, and called on them to step up efforts to follow the centre's 'test, track, treat and teeka (vaccinate)' system to contain the virus and also ramp up their health infrastructure

Jul 16, 2021
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PM Modi

Stopping a third wave of COVID-19 cases is a "priority", Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the chief ministers of six states during a virtual interaction on Friday, and called on them to step up efforts to follow the centre's 'test, track, treat and teeka (vaccinate)' system to contain the virus and also ramp up their health infrastructure. 

Modi was virtually meeting chief ministers from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Kerala and Maharashtra - the six states with the highest daily trends at this time. These have contributed 80 per cent of new cases and 84 per cent of deaths in the past week, he said. These six states contributed 30,801 of India's 38,949 new cases in 24 hours, health ministry figures showed.

On Tuesday Modi met with eight chief ministers of the northeastern states where Covid cases are once again on the rise, worrying many of the South Asia countries bordering them like Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar. 

"To stop the third wave of COVID-19 is absolutely necessary. We have a strategy in place - 'test, track, treat and teeka (vaccinate)'. You are all familiar with this approach and are well-versed in it. This must be a priority," Modi was quoted by NDTV as saying. The government had been at the receiving end of national and global criticism for taking the second wave casually and allowing political and religious congregations while the infection was rapidly spreading in many states. 

"If the situation is not brought under control, there may be trouble ahead," he told the state leaders.

"Increased RT-PCR testing is important to identify and help control the spread of the virus."

Modi also referred to the Rs 23,000 crore Covid fund recently announced by the centre and said: "I urge all states to use this fund to fill gaps in healthcare infrastructure."

In his address to the chief ministers, Modi also highlighted the need to ensure an uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen; a lack of oxygen was one of the tragic headlines at the peak of the second wave, with people dying as hospitals frantically tried to get their tanks refilled.

"The centre (central government) has approved PSA oxygen plants for all states. These are crucial... assign a senior officer to personally oversee setup... in 15-20 days," Modi said.

Modi also stressed on the need to ensure the public follows Covid-appropriate behaviour, which includes wearing face masks and maintaining social distance. This comes after shocking images surfaced from hill stations and crowded markets, where thousands gathered in violation of the rules.

Between them the other four states added 9,018 new cases in the past 24 hours.(SAM)