Tribune News Service
New Delhi, April 4
As India’s daily Covid cases surged to 93,249 on Sunday, in the steepest rise since September 19 last, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a high-level review meeting. He directed Central public health specialists to be positioned in Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh, currently witnessing worrying levels of surge.
With active cases touching 6,91,597 — 5.54 per cent of the total infections, the PM directed top bureaucrats and health officials to avoid mortality “under all circumstances by ramping up healthcare infrastructure, availability of oxygen, ventilators and ensuring clinical management protocols across hospitals and for people in home care.”
The PM laid stress on community participation and stringent imposition of Covid-appropriate behaviour. The meeting ended with a decision to conduct a national campaign from April 6 to 14 for 100 per cent mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation at public places and workplaces.
“Jan bhagidari and jan andolan are key to Covid management and all states must undertake stringent measures with comprehensive restrictions in places witnessing high surge to curb the spread,” the PM said.
The meeting noted that 10 states were accounting for more than 91 pc of the cases and deaths.
Attended by Cabinet Secretary Rajeev Gauba, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and NITI Aayog member (Health) VK Paul, the meeting described the situation in Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh as one “of serious concern.”
In the last 14 days, Maharashtra has recorded 57 per cent of total cases and 47 per cent of deaths in the country. The state today saw 47,913 cases — more than double its earlier peak. Punjab has so far accounted for 4.5 per cent of the total cases and 16.3 per cent of the total deaths in the past fortnight.
Chhattisgarh has contributed 4.3 per cent cases in 14 days and has recorded 7 per cent of the total deaths during the same period.
The 10 high-burden states (Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Punjab, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, UP, MP, Gujarat, Haryana) and UTs are contributing 91.4 per cent of the total cases and 90.9 per cent of the deaths in the country.
The experts at the meeting attributed the surge to a severe decline in compliance with Covid protocols, primarily related to use of masks and maintaining social distance, pandemic fatigue and lack of effective implementation of containment measures. “The exact contribution of mutant strains to the escalation of cases in some states remains speculative. The fact is measures to control the pandemic remain the same as before,” a PMO statement said.
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