India on Thursday recorded a massive surge of 131,893 Covid-19 cases in the span of 24 hours, taking the total tally to 13,057,954. The country also witnessed a grim record of most fatalities due in a single day of 802, the death toll now stands at 167,694.
In the wake of a surge in Covid cases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a virtual meet with state Chief Ministers to review the situation. Ruling out imposing any lockdown, he emphasized the need to identify micro-containment zones in a mission mode. In places where night curfew has been imposed, he urged to use the word ‘Corona Curfew’, to continue alertness about coronavirus.
Modi said a challenging situation has emerged again and urged all to offer suggestions to tackle it. He said of late, both the people and state administration are exhibiting a casual approach towards the virus. Several states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, and Punjab have crossed the first wave of the peak in COVID-19 cases. This is a serious concern. People have become complacent. In most States administration has also become relaxed, he said.
The prime minister said that India has to increase testing and focus on proper sampling. We must bring down positivity rate below 5 percent. Our target is to do 70 percent 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, he said.
Some states including Odisha, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh cited a shortage of vaccine stocks. On which Modi said, What we have done is that we jumped to vaccination (as a strategy) and have forgotten testing. As the vaccines are being produced, they will be delivered. Earlier, we won the fight without the vaccine. We won the fight when we didn’t even know if there would be vaccines. Today, we don’t need to create a panic in the public.
Modi also proposed to observe the vaccine festival, ‘Tika Utsav from April 11 to April 14 to celebrate the birth anniversary of social reformers B R Ambedkar and Jyotirao Phule. He urged everyone, including civil society members, youths, to participate and help more and more people eligible for vaccination to get immunised during the period.
The PM also stressed on tracking of every contact of the infected person. Must do contact tracing of at least 30 people for one infected person, he said. With the test, track and treat mantra, we must also focus on Covid-appropriate behaviour and management, he added.
Besides this, several states have announced night curfew to contain the coronavirus spread. States like Mumbai, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, New Delhi, have enforced fresh curbs like night curfew, weekend lockdown, a ban on social and political gatherings, etc in their districts, amid the Covid-19 surge.