The COVID-19 situation in India seems to have gone back to square one as various states in the country are noticing an alarming uptick in the cases being reported daily. Maharashtra, meanwhile, tops the list with 60% of all active cases in the country.
Expressing concern over the rise in COVID-19 cases, Prime Minister Narendra 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 the chief ministers over the pandemic situation and the ongoing vaccination drive, Modi also asserted that 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 chief ministers after the vaccination drive started in January, he said states like Maharashtra and Punjab have been seeing a rise in the COVID-19 cases while the positivity rate has shot up in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
PM Modi noted that 70 districts in the country have seen an increase in the positivity rate by over 150 per cent in the last few weeks. Out of these 70 districts, 13 are in Maharashtra and 10 in Madhya Pradesh.
Here's the full list:
"If we do not stop it (COVID-19 pandemic) here, then a condition for a nationwide outbreak may emerge," he said, and called for quick and decisive steps to stop it.
Urging chief ministers to ramp up testing and put in place other measures, he noted that 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.
One of the reasons behind India's "successful" fight against the pandemic is that villages largely remained unaffected by the diseases, and if it now spreads across smaller towns then the rural areas too will be affected, he said.
Existing system in the rural areas may fall short if the infection spreads there, he said, asking states to take necessary measures.
Modi urged states to scale up RT-PCR tests, which he said should account for more than 70 per cent of overall testing, increase vaccination centres while targeting zero wastage of vaccines, follow diligently the practice of "test, track and treat" and create micro-containment zones to curb the infection's spread.
(With PTI inputs)