PM tells CMs

NEW DELHI, March 17: Expressing concern over a  rise in COVID-19 cases in parts of the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for “quick and decisive” steps to check the emerging “second peak” of coronavirus, and stressed the need to seriously follow the “test, track and treat” approach.

In a virtual interaction with state Chief Ministers over the pandemic situation and the ongoing vaccination drive, Modi also asserted that vaccine is an effective weapon against the diseases and asked states to establish more vaccination centres, be it government-run or private.

In his first interaction with Chief Ministers after the vaccination drive started in January, he said states like Maharashtra and Punjab have been seeing a rise in the COVID cases while the positivity rate has shot up in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Seventy districts in the country have seen an increase in the positivity rate by over 150 per cent in the last few weeks, he said, underlining his concern. “If we do not stop it here, then a condition for a nationwide outbreak may emerge,” the Prime Minister said, and called for quick and decisive steps to stop it.

Urging Chief Ministers to ramp up testing and put in place other measures, he noted that many tier 2 and 3 cities, which were earlier seen as “safe zones” due to low spread of the infection, were now witnessing a rise in positive cases.

One of the reasons behind India’s “successful” fight against the pandemic is that villages largely remained unaffected by the disease, and if it now spreads across smaller towns then the rural areas too will be affected, he said. – PTI