Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that rising COVID-19 cases in some states remain a matter of concern as he asked them to take proactive measures to rule out a third wave by moving forward with the strategy of test, track, treat and 'tika (vaccine)'.
In a video interaction with chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra and Kerala, where many districts have been reporting a high number of cases, Modi said the country stands at a point in its battle with the pandemic where apprehensions about a third wave are being continuously expressed.
These states have accounted for 80 per cent of new COVID-19 cases last week and 84 per cent of deaths, he noted in his closing remarks, specifically mentioning the rise in infections in Kerala and Maharashtra as a matter of grave concern for the country.
A similar trend was witnessed in January and February before the second wave started, he said.
"It's very important that states with a rising number of cases take proactive measures to rule out any possibility of a third wave," Modi said in his remarks.
"We have to move forward with our strategy of test, track, treat and tika," Prime Minister Modi said, adding that special attention needs to be paid to micro-containment zones.
Emphasising on the need to prevent crowds from gathering at public places, Modi said there is a need to be aware, alert and strict in this regard.
To highlight the possible dangers of another wave of the pandemic, he noted that positive cases have been on the rise in Europe and the US with a fast pace, and a similar worrying trend is being witnessed in countries to the east of India like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar.
"This is a warning and big alert to the world and to us. We have to keep reminding people that the coronavirus has not gone," Modi said, reiterating his concern about scenes of crowds at many places across the country.
He said funds are being made available to all states for making available new intensive care unit (ICU) beds, increasing testing capacity and for all other needs.
Recently, the central government released an emergency COVID-19 response package of more than Rs 23,000 crore, Modi pointed out.
Noting that out of 332 PSA oxygen plants allocated to states represented in the meeting, 53 plants have been commissioned, he asked the chief ministers to expedite the completion of the plants.
He made special mention of the need to protect children from being infected and make all possible arrangements in this regard.
The prime minister highlighted the expert view that if cases keep on rising for a long time, then chances of mutation of the coronavirus will also increase and dangers of new variants will also rise.
He asked the chief ministers to focus on districts with large numbers of cases.
Modi had on Tuesday interacted with chief ministers of eight North-Eastern states, another region of concern, through video conferencing, and had said the vaccination drive needs to be continuously ramped up to deal with the pandemic.
He had also said that it is a matter of concern that big crowds are thronging hill stations and market areas without masks and social distancing.
Home Minister Amit Shah shared COVID figures of these states in the meeting in which the health secretary also spoke.