NEW DELHI, June 17 - Noting that the spread of COVID-19 is more in a few big states and cities, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked chief ministers to make full use of their state�s existing testing capacity and also work to augment health infrastructure.
Speaking to chief ministers and representatives of 14 states and the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Modi said big crowds, lack of physical distancing, daily movement of large number of people and small houses in some cities have made the battle against the coronavirus �more challenging�.
This was the second day of Modi�s sixth round of consultations with chief ministers through video conference on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Saving lives should be the top priority, he said, and called for expanding health infrastructure, according to a statement.
People�s discipline during the nationwide lockdown has stopped the virus� exponential growth, the Prime Minister said, adding that India is now better placed than earlier vis-a-vis treating patients, health infrastructure and trained manpower.
Citing the details of the boost in capacity to deal with the virus, he asked the states to continue to put emphasis on �health Infrastructure, information systems, emotional support and public participation�. Referring to the rise in cases, Modi underscored the need for testing, tracking, tracing and isolating COVID-19 patients.
The Prime Minister, however, added that the number of recovered patients has also been rising, and �it is a matter of relief� that very few patients needed ICU and ventilator care.
Praising efforts of states and local administration, he said the country now has more than 900 COVID-19 testing labs, lakhs of special beds, thousands of isolation and quarantine centres, adequate stocks of testing kits, with over one crore PPE and almost same numbers of N-95 masks supplied to the states.
Modi also called for fighting the stigma associated with the disease, saying people should be assured that there is no need to panic if somebody has been infected as the number of those cured is huge. He highlighted the need to keep reminding people of the benefits of sanitisation, wearing masks and social distancing to fight the virus.
Chief ministers of Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were among those who attended the meeting on Wednesday. � PTI