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We defeated Covid once without a vaccine, important to test, track, treat: PM Modi tells CMs

The PM called for a vaccine festival between 11 and 14 April to raise awareness. He also blamed people for becoming casual due to fatigue.

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New Delhi: As the clamour for vaccines gets shriller across states and political heat rises, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged states to take a step back and concentrate on testing rather than vaccines.

“We had won the war without vaccines — at a time when we did not even know whether vaccines would come,” Modi said during his meeting with chief ministers to take stock of the Covid-19 situation in the country.

Modi also urged states to observe ‘teeka utsav‘ (vaccine festival) between 11 April (birth anniversary of Jyotiba Phule) and 14 April (birth anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar) to raise awareness and also to aim for zero vaccine wastage.

“I see people get very critical of night curfew, there is an intellectual debate on it — I urge states to call it corona curfew. The point is to remind people that they are living in corona times. Please remember that last time we brought down active cases from 10 lakh to 1.5 lakh. That strategy is still good. Let us return to ‘test, track, treat’,” Modi said.

Modi conceded that after one year of fighting the pandemic a little bit of systematic fatigue is only expected, but to continue with that same regard for the next two to three weeks could be crucial for the country, he said, adding that people have become fatigued. He asked states to focus on micro containment zones.

“People have become casual, administration is tired… this is what has caused the sudden increase. We need to work together. We now have vaccines and is it important to understand that lockdown was to increase our resources and capabilities and we did very well there,” Modi said.

A day after Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan issued an uncharacteristically caustic statement naming and shaming states for their “inability” to pull up their vaccination stocks, Modi played the statesman. “Those who want to do politics may do so, I don’t want to speak on this. We should work together to win over the pandemic,” he said.

The PM also asserted that India’s vaccination criteria are at par with other countries and there was no cause for any concern there.

Also read: ‘Hue & cry’ about Centre being partisan in vaccine allocation a ‘farce’, says Harsh Vardhan

States pushed for vaccinations

According to sources, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray admitted that while his state has shown a massive spurt, he urged the PM to call an all-party meeting and “instruct everybody that it is a collective fight and political parties should not make it a political issue”.

He added that when his government imposed restrictions, he had faced backlash from political parties.

“We are in need of oxygen supply, I request you to make sure that if we need that requirement can be met from other states,” he was quoted by sources as saying.

Thackeray said that the current requirement of remdesivir is 50,000-60,000 doses per day but if the disease continues to surge, that could increase to 90,000-1 lakh per day. He requested for a ban on remdesivir exports and also some means to stop black marketing. That was a demand also made by the CMs of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Thackeray suggested that only Covid hospitals should be given the drug.

He added that a trend had been seen when people were not getting RT-PCR tests but were being given the drug in home isolation after a CT scan.

The vaccine, he said, should not be given in small batches. He was quoted as saying that last week Maharashtra vaccinated 40 lakh doses per week and in coming four months it could do 6 crore. He blamed the mutation of the virus for the high cases and deaths and said that a misconception had been created of misgovernance.

He reiterated his demand to open up the vaccines’ manufacturing. The Haffkine Institute, he said, can push out 22 crore doses per year.

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh reiterated during the meeting his state’s demand for opening up vaccinations for all adults, especially in high burden areas. He also talked about the mutant variant of the SARS-CoV2 virus which seems to be in circulation in some parts of Punjab. The mortality rate in Punjab is over twice the national average of 1.2 per cent.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee who is currently fighting a vitriolic assembly election in her state where her chief challenger is the Bharatiya Janata Party, skipped the meeting.

Also read: Maharashtra’s Covid situation ‘grim’, Centre has assured help, says Sharad Pawar


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  1. GOI should deploy NDRF and Army in the COVID vaccine logistics and management. These political wrangling will stop and spread of COVID will contain. USA uses it’s Federal forces in this, there is a precedence.

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