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Controlling coronavirus spread till vaccine arrival on the agenda for Modi’s meeting with CMs

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NEW DELHI: Controlling a possible second wave of Covid-19 this winter till a vaccine comes is top on the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s virtual meetings with chief ministers on Tuesday. The meetings are held in the backdrop of a rise seen lately in new cases of infection and the number of deaths in about ten states, including the national capital, Delhi.

Modi will first meet the CMs of the high-concern states with the highest number of cases and deaths now, followed by another meeting with the CMs of other states.

Government sources in the know said the PM could stress upon increasing the proportion of RT-PCR testing in the high-concern states, ramping up testing in the containment areas, curbing big crowds at markets, enforcing wearing of masks by fines and enhancing awareness about social distancing. The CMs are expected to brief the PM on measures re-imposed by them, like night curfew, after the festival season has seen an upsurge in cases.

The sources said though the rise in Covid numbers in India this month was nowhere near the exponential growth seen in Europe and the US with the onset of winter, the effort of the government here was towards stopping a big second wave.

“The PM just before the festive season made a special address advising people to not drop their guard and stressing that the virus was still very much present amid us. Till a vaccine does not come, it is not the time to lose the grip over the situation here,” a senior government official said.

COVID

Ten states are reporting about 79% of the new cases and 75% of the fresh deaths in the country. Delhi, Maharashtra and Kerala are reporting the highest number of new cases while Delhi, Maharashtra and West Bengal are reporting the highest number of daily deaths now. The Covid-19 numbers are concerning also in states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

The Centre has sent teams to UP, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and earlier to Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Manipur, and Chhattisgarh. The state of hospital infrastructure and availability of ICU and Oxygen-supported beds to deal with any increase in cases will be reviewed.

The PM could express his satisfaction, however, on the recovery rate in India going above 93% and the country recording fewer than 50,000 cases daily since November 8. Active cases in India are now below 4.5 lakh, or only 4.85% of the total positive cases, which is another reassuring figure.

The PM is also expected to ask the CMs to review availability of cold storages for vaccine and be prepared for the distribution strategy. In the previous meeting in September, the PM had asked the CMs of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to make special efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 in the 60 worst-affected districts.

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