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‘Must curb emerging second Covid peak’ — Modi tells CMs to scale up testing, protect villages

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to states Wednesday, asked them to scale up RT-PCR tests & follow the golden rule of ‘testing, tracking and tracing’ to curb the spread.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday said India needs to curb the emerging second peak of Covid-19 cases immediately. 

During a virtual interaction with chief ministers of various states, the PM highlighted that India has managed the pandemic very well where the country’s recovery rate is as high as over 96 per cent and the fatality rate is among the lowest. 

Hume iss ubharti hui second peak ko rokna hoga (We need to curb the emerging second peak of Covid cases),” he said, adding that the states need to start from scratch and fix people’s carelessness in wearing masks.

PM Modi, in his 17-minute address, asked the states to scale up RT-PCR tests and follow the golden rule of “testing, tracking and tracing” to curb the spread of infection. “We need to be very serious about this rule, like we were in the last one year.”

Modi also alerted the states not to take the spike lightly.

“Our confidence should not become overconfidence. We shouldn’t become careless. On other hand, we should not create panic among the people… the idea is to bring Indians out of the Covid crisis,” he said.

According to PM Modi, the states need to work on their past experiences and exchange learnings with each other. “We need to learn from each other’s experiences. You all have so much experience that has worked for your states.”

The PM reiterated that Indians need both ‘dawai aur kadai’. He explained that ‘kadai (strictness)’ is wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, taking care of cleanliness, among other precautions. 

Also read: Indo-Pacific, Covid, climate — Modi, Biden, Morrison, Suga share Quad vision in rare joint op-ed

What does India need to do? 

Creation of micro-containment zones, upscaling RT-PCR tests and daily vaccination targets, increase in the number of vaccination centres, vigilance on circulation of mutants, and protection of villages from the Covid spread are some of the actions that PM Modi has asked all the states to work on.

Modi also asked the states to alert their district officials and re-orient them on the creation of micro-containment zones and put surveillance mechanisms immediately.  

He also highlighted that many states have been observed to conduct more of the instant, rapid antigen tests over RT-PCR tests. 

“We must follow the first rule. The rate of RT-PCR tests should be more than 70 per cent in a state. We need to change the trend of lowering RT PCR tests, from now on.”

Modi also voiced his concern about his fear of Covid spreading to the villages. 

“Earlier, we had seen that the spread was limited to tier-I cities. Now, we are seeing the spread near tier-II and tier-III areas too. We need to protect our villages. Our infrastructure in those areas will be overwhelmed. For this, we must increase testing in smaller towns, put in place the referral system, and work on increasing the network of ambulances.”

Talking about the circulation of mutants, he said the questions still loom over the characteristics and identification of the circulating mutants.  

“States should know the circulating mutant and for this, continuous genome testing is important,” Modi said.

India needs to upscale vaccination drive: Modi

While Modi appreciated the ongoing vaccination drive, he highlighted his concerns on the need to finish the drive faster, and issues of vaccine wastage.

He called for increasing the number of vaccination centres and asked states to stay vigilant about the vaccine expiry date, besides warning them to take the problem of vaccine doses wastage very “seriously”. 

He noted that vaccine wastage in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh is to the tune of 10 per cent each. He asked the states to immediately correct the drawbacks in planning and governance at the local level to reduce this wastage.

(Edited by Debalina Dey)

Also read: Modi is right: Government deserves no credit for bringing Covid under control in India


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