‘Tika Utsav, Corona Curfews’: What PM Said at COVID Meet With CMs

The Quint
·4-min read

Amid a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases across India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a virtual conference with the chief ministers of all states and Union Territories on Thursday, 8 April, highlighted the need to increase testing and focus on micro-containment zones. He also called for a ‘tika utsav” (vaccine festival) to be observed between 11 and 14 April to inoculate as many eligible people as possible.

He also backed night curfews imposed by several states, saying that ‘corona curfews’ should start at 9-10 pm and end by 5-6 am.

‘Challenging Situation’

Pointing out that a challenging situation is emerging again, Modi called for suggestions from the CMs to tackle the situation.

“The country has already crossed the peak of the first wave. The spike rate this time is higher than the first wave. Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and other states have crossed the peak of first wave. Some other states are also moving towards the same quickly. It is a worrying and serious concern for all of us,” Modi said, adding that people have become more casual and the administration lax.

“There is a need to work on a war footing again to fight COVID-19. Despite all the challenges, we have better experience, resources and a vaccine,” he said.

Also Read: New Zealand Suspends Entry From India Due to Rising COVID Cases

‘Focus on Increased Testing’

PM Modi, in the meeting, stressed that people must use the experiences from the first wave to combat the second wave, adding that there was a need to focus on micro-containment zones.

Speaking about COVID-19 testing, Modi asked for maximum testing to be carried out.

"“I appeal to you all to stress on COVID-19 testing. We must bring down the positivity rate below 5 percent. Our target is to conduct 70 percent RT-PCR tests. Let the number of positive cases come high, but conduct maximum testing.”" - Narendra Modi, Prime Minister

“Containing the human host is a way to contain virus,” he stated.

The PM also stressed on proper methods for collection of samples. “COVID-19 tracing and tracking is the way to curb the spread of the infection,” he said, stating that the target should be to test at least 30 contacts in 72 hours per COVID patient.

The borders of containment zones should be particular and not vague, he added.

40 Lakh Shots Per Day

He further said that India had crossed the mark of vaccinating 40 lakh people in a day, adding that the criteria set by the world’s most developed nations is no different to those set by India.

The PM also spoke about COVID deaths, saying, “During our discussions, we raised the issue of mortality rate. We have to make sure it remains as low as possible. We should have comprehensive data about patients’ illnesses, which will help save their lives.”

He advised the CMs to prioritise vaccine distribution with existing stock. Modi said, “We won't get results by keeping vaccines in one state. It is not right to think in this way. We have to manage by thinking about the country.”

“Those who want to do politics may do so, I don’t want to speak on this. We should work together to win over the pandemic,” said PM Modi to the CMs.

He also recommended all-party meetings with distinguished persons in states to promote COVID-appropriate behavior, reported PTI.

Apart from the chief ministers, the meeting was also attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee skipped the meeting. Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay attended in her stead.

India on Friday reported 1,31,968 new COVID cases, taking the tally in the country to 1,30,60,542. The death toll increased by 780 to 1,67,642. This is the biggest one-day rise in cases in the country ever since the pandemic began.

PM’s Earlier Meetings

Modi had last interacted with the chief ministers on 17 March, during which he had called for quick and decisive steps to check the emerging second wave.

On 4 April, the PM had chaired a high-level meeting with senior officials, including NITI Aayog member Vinod Paul, the Cabinet secretary, the PM’s principal secretary, and the health secretary, to take stock of the COVID-19 situation.

Modi has directed that central teams, consisting of public health specialists and clinicians, be sent to Maharashtra in view of the high case load and deaths, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Modi asserted that if the five-pronged strategy of testing, tracing, treatment, COVID-appropriate behaviour and vaccination is implemented with the utmost seriousness and commitment, it would be effective in curbing the spread of COVID.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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