Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired high-level meeting on the Covid-19 situation with Chief Ministers of 11 states and Union Territories which have reported a maximum number of cases recently.
Noting that the virus is affecting several states as well as Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities at once, PM Modi called for working together to fight the pandemic with collective power. He said the biggest basis of India’s success during the first wave of the pandemic was our united efforts and united strategy and reiterated that we will have to address this challenge in the same way.
PM Modi assured Centre’s full support to all the states and in this fight. He added that the Ministry of Health is also in touch with the states and is monitoring the situation closely and issuing necessary advice to the states from time to time.
On oxygen supply, PM Modi took note of the points raised by the states. He said there is a continuous effort to increase oxygen supply. All the concerned departments and ministries of the government are also working together. Industrial oxygen has also been diverted to meet immediate requirements.
PM Modi urged all states to work together and coordinate with one another to fulfil requirements relating to medicines and oxygen. He urged the states to check hoarding and black marketing of oxygen and medicines. The PM said that every state should ensure that no oxygen tanker, whether it is meant for any state, is stopped or gets stranded. The Prime Minister urged the states to set up a high-level coordination committee to carry oxygen to different hospitals of the state. This Coordination Committee should ensure that as soon as there is an allotment of oxygen from the centre, it can deliver oxygen as per requirement in different hospitals of the state immediately. PM informed the Chief Ministers that yesterday he chaired a meeting on oxygen supply and will be attending one today to discuss all the options for increasing the oxygen supply.
PM Modi stated that the central government is working on all possible options to reduce the travel time and turnaround time of oxygen tankers. For this, Railways has started Oxygen Express.Empty Oxygen tankers are also being transported by the Air-Force to reduce one way travel time.
The Prime Minister said that along with upgrading of resources, we have to focus on testing. He emphasized that widespread testing should be conducted so that people get the facility easily.
The PM remarked that our vaccination programme should not slow down in this situation. PM Modi mentioned that India is running the world’s largest vaccination programme and so far, more than 15 crore vaccine doses have been provided free of cost to the states by the Government of India. The campaign launched by the Central Government to provide free vaccine to all citizens above 45 years as well has Health-Care workers & Front-Line workers, will also continue in the same manner. From May 1, PM Modi added, the vaccine is going to be available to all citizens above 18 years of age. We will also need to work in mission mode to get more and more people vaccinated.
PM Modi said along with all measures for treatment of the patients, hospital safety is also very important. Expressing grief on recent incidents of oxygen leakage and fire at hospitals, PM Modi said the administrative staff of the hospital needs to be made more aware about the safety protocols.
PM Modi also urged the administration to continuously make people aware so that they do not indulge in panic buying. He said that with united efforts, we will be able to stop this second wave of the pandemic across the country.
Earlier, a presentation was given by Dr VK Paul, which highlighted the preparations being done to counter the new surge of infections. Dr Paul also presented the roadmap for increasing the medical facilities and targeted treatment of patients. He briefed everyone about Boosting of Medical infrastructure, teams and supplies; Clinical Management; Containment; Vaccination & Community engagement.
During the interaction, Chief Ministers of states briefed the PM about the steps being taken by respective State Governments in the current wave. They also noted that the directions given by the PM and the road map presented by NITI would help them plan their responses in a better way.