New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday cautioned states and union territories against any laxity in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and called for reducing the positivity and fatality rates by focusing on curbing the virus transmission.
Interacting with chief ministers, the prime minister also called for more RT-PCR tests, even as he underlined that India's COVID-19 situation is more stable than other countries in terms of recovery and fatality rates.
Modi asked them to work towards bringing down the positive rate to nearly 5 per cent and the fatality rate to under 1 per cent and called for more RT-PCR tests.
"We need to speed up our efforts to reduce transmission of the virus. Testing, confirmation, contact tracing and data must be given top priority," he said.
Modi said the government is keeping a close watch on the development of vaccines and is in contact with Indian developers and manufacturers, along with global regulators, governments of other countries, multilateral institutions and international companies.
He added that it will be ensured that the vaccine for citizens will meet all necessary scientific criteria.
He underlined that just like the focus in the fight against COVID-19 has been on saving each and every life, the priority will be to ensure that the vaccine reaches everyone.
The meeting was also attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, while the chief ministers who participated in the virtual interaction include Delhi's Arvind Kejriwal, Rajasthan's Ashok Gehlot, West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra's Uddhav Thackeray, Chhattisgarh's Bhupesh Baghel and Gujarat's Vijay Rupani.
A massive network of testing to treatment is running well in the entire country and it is being regularly widened, the prime minister said.
Modi has held several rounds of virtual meetings with states over the coronavirus situation so far.
The latest high-level meeting to review the status and preparedness of COVID-19 response and management had a special emphasis on eight high focus states – Haryana, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and West Bengal.
The modalities of COVID-19 vaccine delivery, distribution and administration were also discussed during the meeting.
While the national daily COVID-19 case count has remained below 50,000 for some time, several urban centres have witnessed a surge, resulting in enforcement of several measures, including curfews in some cities.
India saw 37,975 new coronavirus infections being reported in a day taking the country's COVID-19 caseload to 91.77 lakh, while the recoveries crossed 86 lakh, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.
Modi said a special emphasis of the PM CARES fund has been to make available oxygen, while efforts are on to make medical colleges and district hospitals self-sufficient in terms of oxygen generation. He also informed the chief ministers that the process for establishing more than 160 new oxygen plants is underway.
The prime minister said there have been broadly four stages in terms of how the people have reacted to the pandemic.
The first was of fear, when people reacted in panic, while the second stage saw cropping up of doubts about the virus, when several people tried to hide that they had been afflicted by it.
The third stage was of acceptance, when people became more serious about the virus and displayed greater alertness, while in the fourth stage, with increasing recovery rate, people have developed a false notion of security from the virus, thus leading to rise in instances of negligence, Modi said.
He emphasised that it is of utmost importance to increase awareness about the seriousness of the virus in this fourth stage.
He noted that the trend of increase in the spread of the pandemic in countries where its impact was earlier lessening, is being seen in some states as well, which necessitates greater alacrity and caution by the administration.