The Prime Minister Narendra Modi today interacted with Chief Ministers of the North-Eastern states on Covid-19 situation. The interaction was attended by the Chief Ministers of Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam. Besides, Union Ministers for Home, Defence, Health, DONER and other Ministers were present during the interaction.
The Chief Ministers briefed about the progress of vaccination in their states and steps that are being taken to take vaccines to far-flung areas. They also discussed the issue of vaccine hesitancy and measures being taken to overcome it. They gave an account of improvement in medical infrastructure to better tackle Covid cases and the support lent through the PM-CARES Fund. They gave assurance of taking timely action to bring down the positivity rate as well as the number of cases in their States.
Union Home Minister talked about the reduction in the overall daily number of cases but forewarned that this should not lead to one becoming lax and letting one’s guard down. He said that some areas of the country are witnessing high positivity rates.
He emphasised on the importance of testing, tracing, tracking and vaccination. Union Health Secretary gave an overview of the Covid cases in the country and discussed the high positivity rate in some Northeast states. He briefed about the steps taken to boost the supply of medical oxygen and also gave an overview of the progress of vaccination.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister lauded the people, health workers and the governments of the Northeast for their hard work in the fight against the pandemic and creating infrastructure for testing, treatment and vaccination despite the difficult terrain of the states.
The Prime Minister expressed his worry over the growing number of cases in some districts and stressed the need to catch these signals and take strict actions at the micro-level. He stressed the use of micro containment protocol in dealing with the situation. He asked to make full use of the experience and best practices gathered over the last one and half years in this regard.
Noting the fast mutating nature of the virus, the Prime Minister advised strict monitoring of the mutation and keep track of all variants. He informed experts are studying the mutations and their impact. In such a scenario, prevention and treatment are critical, he said emphasising Covid appropriate behaviour. Shri Modi emphasised that the utility of physical distancing, mask, vaccine is clear. Similarly, the strategy of testing tracking and treatment is a proven strategy.
Acknowledging the impact of pandemics on tourism and business, the Prime Minister strongly cautioned against crowding at hill stations without observing proper precautions. Rejecting the argument that people want to enjoy before the arrival of the third wave, he said that this need to be understood that the third wave will not come on its own. He said that the main question in our mind should be how to prevent the third wave. Experts are repeatedly warning against carelessness and crowding as they can lead to a massive surge in cases. He strongly advocated preventing avoidable crowding.
The Prime Minister said that in the ‘vaccine for all-free for all’ campaign of the central government, Northeast too has the same importance and we need to keep accelerating the vaccination process. To deal with the myths pertaining to vaccination and mobilising people, the Prime Minister asked to enlist the help of social, educational institutes, celebrities and also the organizations of religious faith. He asked to accelerate the vaccination drive in the areas where the spread of the virus is expected.
Referring to the recent Cabinet approval of Rs 23,000 crore package for improving the infrastructure for testing and treatment, the Prime Minister said that the package will help in strengthening the health infrastructure of Northeast. This package will expedite testing, diagnostics, genome sequencing in the Northeast. The Prime Minister stressed the need for quickly increasing the number of beds, oxygen facilities and paediatric care infrastructure in the Northeast. The Prime Minister informed that hundreds of oxygen plants are being established in the country through PM-CARES and Northeast too got about 150 plants. The Prime Minister requested the Chief Ministers to complete the process of establishing these plants quickly.
Modi underlined the need to establish a temporary hospital due to the geographical situation of the northeast. He also asked to prepare trained manpower as oxygen plants, ICU wards, new machines that are reaching two block-level hospitals will need this manpower. He assured all help from the central government.
Noting the capacity of 20 lakh tests per day in the country, the Prime Minister highlighted the need to augment the testing infrastructure in the affected district on priority. He stressed aggressive testing along with random testing. The Prime Minister expressed the hope that with the collective efforts we will surely be able to contain the spread.