India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said people became more casual during the second wave of coronavirus that has spread across the country and urged chief ministers to strengthen their efforts for the next 2-3 weeks to check the spread of the virus on a “war-footing”.
In his virtual interaction with chief ministers to discuss the Covid-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination drive, Modi asserted that the country had much more resources to deal with the virus than before and the focus should be on micro-containment zones.
“There is a need to improve the governance system. I understand that because of the one-year battle, the system can experience tiredness and there can be laxity, but we must tighten it for 2-3 weeks and strengthen the governance,” he said.
This time we should focus on micro containment zones, PM said after his meeting with all CMs to take stock of Covid situation in the country.
“It’s clear that we have a challenging situation. Need to have strict governance for 2 to 3 weeks. India has crossed peak of first wave of Covid-19 pandemic and situation is very grim in some states,” said Modi.
“There is a need to work on war footing again to fight Covid-19. Despite all the challenges, we have a better experience, resources and vaccines,” added Modi.
He also dismissed the “intellectual debate” about coronavirus only having an effect in the night and said such a curfew helps in spreading awareness about the deadly virus with minimal impact on daily lives of people.
Night curfew has been imposed by local administration in several places including Mumbai, Delhi, Noida, Lucknow and other parts of the country amid a spike in COVID-19 cases.
“Some people have this intellectual debate that ‘does corona only come in the night’. In reality, the world over night curfew has been an accepted experiment because every person during the curfew time is reminded that I am living in Corona-era and lifestyle is not affected to a large extent,” he said.
“We must concentrate on micro-containment zones. In places where night curfew has been imposed, I would urge to use the word ‘corona curfew’, to continue alertness about coronavirus. It will be better to start curfew timing from 9pm or 10pm till 5am or 6am,” said PM Modi.
To push vaccination, PM Modi called for observing three-day ‘Tika Utsav’ (vaccination festival) between April 11-14 to give jabs to maximum eligible people.
Modi emphasised on ‘Test, Track, Treat’, Covid-appropriate behaviour and Covid management to contain the pandemic.
Along with public participation, our hard-working doctors and health-care staff have helped a lot in handling the situation and are still doing it, he said.
“With administration appearing lax in many states, rise in cases has increased problems. To stop the spread of the virus, there is a need to work on a war-footing,” he said.
“I appeal to you all to stress on Covid-19 testing. Our target is to do 70 per cent RT-PCR tests. Let the number of positive cases come high, but do maximum testing. Proper sample collection is very important, it can be checked through proper governance,” said Modi.
“We need to fight the second surge in cases. Many states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Punjab have crossed first wave of peak in Covid-19 cases. This is a serious concern. People have become complacent. In most states administration has also become relaxed,” PM added.
India’s criteria for vaccination is no different from those applied by most prosperous countries, we will have to prioritise, said Modi.
“hose 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,” said PM Modi at a time when some non-BJP state governments have accused Centre of partisanship when it comes to vaccine distribution.
Modi suggested all-party meetings in states, involvement of Governors, celebrities, other noted persons to push Covid-appropriate behaviour.
India has been witnessing an alarming spike in daily coronavirus infections, and on Thursday, the country saw a record single-day spike of 1,26,789 new cases, pushing its total tally to 12,928,574, while the number of active cases too went upwards to breach the 900,000-mark again.
States like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh announced weekend lockdowns to contain the second wave of infections, which experts say will spread faster. Other states, for now, have stayed away from lockdowns, but tightened restrictions, imposing limits on the people movement, public gatherings and cinemas.