Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday chaired a high-level meeting to review the COVID-19 situation and vaccination exercise in the country amid an “alarming rate of growth” in infections and deaths, with 10 states contributing to more than 91 percent of them.
Modi said 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 pandemic’s spread, according to an official statement.
PM Modi directed that central teams consisting of public health specialists and clinicians be sent to Maharashtra in view of high caseload and deaths, and likewise to Punjab and Chhattisgarh because of the disproportionate number of deaths being reported there.
The reasons for the sharp rise in cases could be mainly attributed to the severe decline in compliance of COVID-appropriate behaviour, especially in the use of masks and social distancing, pandemic fatigue and lack of effective implementation of containment measures at the field level, the statement said.
As of date, Maharashtra has contributed 57% of total cases in the country in the last 14 days and 47% of deaths in the country 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 percent of the total cases in the country in the same period but has accounted for 16.3 percent of the total deaths, a matter of serious concern, the statement said.
The 10 high burden States and UTs are contributing 91.4% of total cases and 90.9% of total deaths in the country.
For sustainable COVID-19 management, awareness of the community and its involvement is paramount, Modi said, adding that and there is a need to continue ‘Jan Bhagidari’ and ‘Jan Andolan’.
A special campaign for COVID-appropriate behaviour with emphasis on 100 percent mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation at public places, workplaces and health facilities will be organised between April 6-14, the statement said.
In the meeting, a brief presentation on the performance of the COVID-19 inoculation drive was also made, and the details of the coverage of vaccination in various groups, performance with respect to other countries and analysis of states’ performance were deliberated.
It was suggested that a daily analysis of performance should be shared with states and UTs as feedback for corrective actions, the statement said.
The principal secretary to the prime minister, cabinet secretary, home secretary, chairperson (Empowered group on Vaccine Administration) and health secretary besides other senior officials attended the meeting.