Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that there is a need to impose micro-containment zones in areas where Covid-19 cases are rising, as he held a meeting with chief ministers to take stock of the situation in the country and ongoing vaccination programme. He also said that India has in the past successfully brought down the peak of Covid-19 cases and it can be done again.
PM Modi reminded the chief ministers that India was able to successfully bring the Covid-19 wave down last year without any vaccine.
"Test, track and treat remains an effective strategy to check the spread of the disease," PM Modi said while addressing the chief ministers, calling the situation in the country challenging. He said this should be particularly followed in containment zones.
"There is a need to work on war footing again to fight Covid-19. Despite all the challenges, we have a better experience, resources and vaccines," he said.
The Prime Minister also backed the night restrictions imposed by several states to check the spread of the infection.
He also pointed out how laxity shown by people of the country has resulted in the resurgence in the number of cases. "We should start an aggressive campaign to urge people to go for testing," the Prime Minister said.
"We have to make people aware about how they can catch the infection. And aggressive testing is the only way," he added, emphasising on increasing the RT-PCR test.
"I appeal to you all to stress on Covid-19 testing. Our target is to do 70% RT-PCR tests. Let the number of positive cases come high, but do maximum testing. Proper sample collection is very important, it can be checked through proper governance," said PM Modi.
The Prime Minister gave CMs the target to bring down the country's positivity rate below 5%.
"Many states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Punjab have crossed first wave of peak in Covid-19 cases. This is a serious concern. People have become complacent. In most states administration has also become relaxed," said PM Modi.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee did not attend the virtual meeting due to campaigning for the ongoing assembly elections in the state. Chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay represented her, said officials.
The meeting was called on a day when India recorded 1.26 lakh cases - a fresh spike and the country's highest-ever rise in daily caseload. Before this, India recorded more than one lakh cases twice - both this week - as the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) returned with a vengeance.
The number of cases were declining after reaching a peak in September last year, but the recent surge has health experts and the government worried. Dr VK Paul, a member of government think tank NITI Aayog, said earlier this week that the next four weeks are crucial for India in its fight against Covid-19.
PM Modi previously chaired a high-level meeting with government officials on Sunday where he asked them to ensure the people follow Covid-19 protocols. He also ordered awareness programmes to be launched across the country.
The union health ministry said on Thursday that 10 states - Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Kerala and Punjab - have shown a steep rise in the daily Covid-19 cases. They account for 84.21 per cent of the new infections, it added.
India's weekly Covid-19 positivity rate has increased from 2.19 to 8.40 per cent in the first seven days of March and April, the ministry further said.
Meanwhile, the number of people who have taken Covid-19 vaccine dose crossed 9 crore mark on Thursday. The Union health ministry said that 9,01,98,673 vaccine doses were administered through 13,77,304 sessions till 7am on Thursday.