In recent days, there has been several developments linked to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Even as various parts of the country record a sudden spurt in cases following the festive season, news about vaccine candidates being tested successfully are welcome. Against this backdrop, with Prime Minister Modi slated to hold a COVID-19 review meeting with the chief ministers of various states, there has been rampant speculation about what decisions may be taken.
While the government, at both the state and central level have so far shied away from re-imposing a large-scale lockdown to curb the spread of the virus, curfews and short partial lockdowns have been re-imposed in some areas. Many states have also brought back restrictions when it comes to social gatherings and public events.
According to reports, Modi will hold two virtual meetings on Tuesday with the Chief Ministers of the various states and union territories. It is expected that the first meeting will be with states that have a high case-load, and the second will be with all the states, to discuss the vaccine distribution strategy. According to reports, the first meeting will be with the leaders of Kerala, West Bengal, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. Days earlier, he had held a meeting with officials working with the Centre to review India’s vaccination strategy and the way forward. "Important issues related to progress of vaccine development, regulatory approvals and procurement were discussed," he had tweeted.
While it is of course impossible to state exactly what will be discussed, it is also possible that a limited lockdown may be brought up. In recent days there has been a huge surge in cases in specific areas and reports indicate that the Centre is worried over two different trends in the COVID-19 spread. A day earlier, the worsening COVID-19 situation in the state, the Supreme Court had asked several state governments to file status reports on the current situation in the respective states.
The apex court had also singled out several states as well as the Centre for the situation, putting them on notice and asking them to file status reports on the COVID-19 situation within two days. The situation has gone from bad to worse in Delhi, veered out of control in Gujarat and spiked in Maharashtra, the court observed. It is possible that the Prime Minister's review meeting will also give insight on how these specific states plan to deal with the situation and possibly worse days ahead.
India's coronavirus count crossed the 91-lakh mark on Monday after 44,059 new cases were reported in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The overall cases reached 91,39,866 including 4,43,486 active cases and 85,62,641 recoveries. With 511 new deaths, the death toll mounted to 1,33,738.
The country is reporting around 30,000 to 47,000- daily new cases for the past few days.
(With inputs from agencies)