With India reporting over 4-lakh cases in the last 24 hours, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a meeting to comprehensively review the grim situation caused by the second wave of Covid-19. in the meeting, he has reviewed various aspects of Covid-19 response in the states and districts, including the ongoing vaccination drive and augmenting health capacities.
In the meeting, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed concern about the flagging pace of vaccinations as he held a meeting to review the public health response to the coronavirus crisis marked by shortages of the jabs as well as essentials like hospital beds and oxygen that have led to thousands of deaths.
The PMO noted that Prime Minister Modi was informed about the 12 states whose active caseload is more than one lakh. Some of these states are Maharashtra, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, all of which have an active caseload of more than 1.5 lakh. PM Modi directed the states should be given help and guidance about leading indicators to ramp up healthcare infrastructure.
PM Modi informed that an advisory was sent to the states to identify districts of concern where case positivity is 10% or more and bed occupancy is more than 60% on either oxygen supported or ICU beds. PM also reviewed the availability of medicines. He was briefed about the rapid augmenting of production of medicines including Remdesivir.
PM reviewed the progress on vaccination and the roadmap for scaling up production on vaccines in the next few months. He was informed that around 17.7 crore vaccines have been supplied to the states. PM also reviewed the state wise trends on vaccine wastage. PM was briefed that around 31% of eligible population over the age of 45 has been given atleast one dose.
Despite being the global hub of vaccine manufacturing, India has vaccinated a minuscule portion of its vast 136 crore population and many states have complained they don’t have enough stocks, inviting criticism against Modi government. Rebuffing charges of lapses, the central government has passed on much of the burden to states to procure vaccines directly from manufacturers at far higher prices to inoculate those under 45 years of age.
The review comes amid protracted criticism of the government’s inability to provide states and territories like Delhi enough medical oxygen that has left hospitals and patients to fend for themselves in a health crisis that has drawn international attention.
With hospitals scrabbling for beds and oxygen in response to the surge in infections, the World Health Organization said in a weekly report that India accounted for nearly half the coronavirus cases reported worldwide last week and a quarter of the deaths. India has 34.5 crore active cases. Medical experts said India’s actual figures could be five to 10 times the official tallies.