Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with the Chief Ministers on Covid-19 situation via video conferencing in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with the Chief Ministers on Covid-19 situation via video conferencing in New Delhi on Wednesday.

New Delhi

Expressing co­n­cern about a rise in Co­vid-19 cases in parts of the country, Prime Minister Modi on Wednesday cal­led for "quick and decisive" steps to check the emerging "second peak" of coronavirus, and stressed the need to seriously follow the "test, track and treat" approach.

In a virtual interaction wi­th state chief ministers over the pandemic situation and the ongoing vaccination dri­ve, Modi asserted vaccine is an effective weapon against the diseases and asked states to establish more vaccination centres, be it government-run or private.

In his first interaction with CMs after the vaccination drive started in January, he said states like Maharashtra and Punjab have been seeing a sharp rise in the Covid cases while the positivity rate has shot up in Maharashtra and MP. 70 districts in the country have seen a jump in the positivity rate by over 150% in the last few weeks, he said, underlining his concern. “If we do not stop it here, then a condition for a nationwide outbreak may emerge,” he said, and called for quick and decisive steps to stop it.

Urging CMs to ramp up testing and put in place other measures, he noted many tier 2 and 3 cities, which were earlier seen as "safe zones" due to low spread of the infection, were now witnessing a rise in positive cases.

"Test, track and treat" should be taken as seriously now as it has been for over a year since the outbreak, he added.

6.5% vaccine wastage: Govt

... calls for optimal utilisation of shots

The average of Covid-19 vaccine wastage in India is 6.5%, with Telangana and Andhra recording 17.6% and 11.6% wastage respectively, the Centre said on Wednesday as it called for optimal utilisation of the jabs. Addressing a press conference, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said 3.51 crore vaccine doses have been administered till now in the country, which include 1.38 crore beneficiaries aged 45-60 years with specific co-morbidities and those above 60 years who have been given the first dose.

On March 15, 8.34 million Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered worldwide, of which India alone administered 36% of doses, he said, adding, COVID-19 vaccine wastage in 5 states — Telangana, Andhra, UP, Karnataka and J&K — is higher than 6.5%, which is the national average. “The message we have shared with states is that vaccines are invaluable commodities. They are public health goods and therefore vaccines have to be optimally utilised. Vaccine wastage has to be drastically reduced. Any reduction in wastage means that you end up inoculating more people and therefore the chances of disrupting the chain of infection grow that much more.”

Covid cases report jump

Despite all efforts, including the highest 9.69 lakh daily checks in 3 months, India is facing a second run of the virus. The highest 28,903 new cases were reported in 24 hours on Wedn­es­day, while the daily deaths shot up to a new high of 188 and the active caseload also hit a new high of 10,974 in a day.

The vaccination touched 3.51 crore on Wednesday morning, 21.17 lakh in 24 hours, while 22.92 crore people have been tested since March last year.

The death toll of 188 in a single day, the highest in 3 months, is a cause for concern since the new cases of the infection are continuously, the Health Ministry officials said. Maharashtra as ever remained on the top with 87 deaths in 24 hours, followed by 38 in Punjab, 15 in Kerala and 12 in Chhatti­s­garh even while only 15 of the 36 states/UTs reported no death.

The national death toll has gone up to 1.59 lakh, which is 1.39% of the total 1.14 crore infections. The ever-increasing active cases touched 2.33 lakh on Wednesday, which is 2.05% of the total infections while the recovery rate touched 96.56% with 1.10 crore recovered, 17,741 in the past 24 hours.

Virus Tidbits

-- 5 states account for over 70% of new infections

-- Review immunisation strategy: Punjab CM tells Centre; says vaccinate all ages in selected areas

-- Flyersnot wearing marks properly to be de-boarded, treated as unruly: DGCA to HC

-- UP’s Guru Dham Mandir turns hotspot after congregation

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