PM warns N-E states against third wave

New Delhi, 14 July: Amid rising cases of coronavirus infections in the North-East states, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday emphasized the need for establishing temporary hospitals and strict monitoring of the mutant coronavirus strains.

Modi was interacting with chief ministers of the North-East states to take stock of the covid-19 situation in Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam. Modi asked the states to prepare trained manpower for handling oxygen plants, ICU wards and running new medical equipment.

Expressing concern over the growing number of cases in some districts, Modi stressed the need to take strict actions at the micro-level. “There should be micro-containment protocol in dealing with the situation making full use of the experience and best practices gathered over the last one and half years in this regard,” said the prime minister.

Noting the fast-mutating nature of coronavirus, the Prime Minister advised strict monitoring of the mutation and keep track of all variants. “Experts are studying the mutations and their impact. In such a scenario, prevention and treatment are critical with covid-appropriate behaviour. The utility of physical distancing, mask, vaccine is clear. Similarly, the strategy of testing tracking and treatment is a proven strategy,” Modi said.

The Prime Minister said that the North-East states need to keep accelerating the vaccination process. He asked the states to accelerate the vaccination drive in areas where the spread of the virus is expected.

Referring to the recent cabinet approval of a 23,000 crore package for improving the infrastructure for testing and treatment, the Prime Minister said that the package will help in strengthening the health infrastructure of the North-East region. “This package will expedite testing, diagnostics, genome sequencing in the North-East. There is a need for quickly increasing the number of beds, oxygen facilities and paediatric care infrastructure in the North-East. Hundreds of oxygen plants are being established in the country through PM-CARES and North-East too got about 150 plants,” Modi said, requesting the chief ministers to complete the process of establishing these plants quickly.

Noting the capacity of 2 million tests per day in the country, the Prime Minister also highlighted the need to augment the testing infrastructure in the affected district on priority. “Aggressive testing should be along with random testing,” said Modi.

Acknowledging the impact of the pandemic on tourism and business, the Prime Minister strongly cautioned against crowding at hill stations without observing proper precautions. Rejecting the argument that people want to enjoy before the arrival of the third wave, he said that this need to be understood that the third wave will not come on its own. “The main question in our mind should be how to prevent the third wave. Experts are repeatedly warning against carelessness and crowding as they can lead to a massive surge in cases. Crowding should be avoided,” said Modi.

During the virtual meeting, the chief ministers spoke about the progress of vaccination in their states and steps that are being taken to take vaccines to far-flung areas.

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