New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday reviewed 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.
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, it said.
“A detailed presentation was made which highlighted that there is an alarming rate of growth of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country with 10 states contributing to more than 91 percent of cases and deaths due to COVID,” it said.
It was noted in the meeting that vaccine manufacturers are ramping up their production capacity and are also in discussion with other domestic and offshore companies to augment the same.
Noting that the situation in Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh is of serious concern, a presentation in the meeting highlighted that the western state has contributed 57 percent of the total cases and 47 percent of deaths in the country in the last 14 days.
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.
Similarly, though Chhattisgarh has contributed 4.3 percent of the total cases nationwide in the last 14 days, its contribution in total deaths has exceeded seven percent during the same period.
The 10 high burden states and UTs are contributing 91.4 percent of the total cases and 90.9 percent of the total deaths in the country.
Modi directed that central teams consisting of public health specialists and clinicians be sent to Maharashtra in view of its high caseload and deaths, and to Punjab and Chhattisgarh as well because of the disproportionate number of deaths there, the statement said.
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.
Research and development of vaccines were also discussed along with the production capacity of existing manufacturers and the capacity of vaccines that are under trial.
“It was highlighted that all efforts are underway 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’,” it 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.