HEALTH

PM reviews COVID-19 Pandemic situation and Vaccination Program in India

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting to review the COVID-19 Pandemic situation and vaccination program in the country.

The Prime Minister directed that for sustainable COVID-19 management, awareness of the community and its involvement is paramount and there is a need to continue Jan Bhagidari and Jan Andolan for COVID-19 management. He mentioned that the five-fold strategy of Testing, Tracing, Treatment, Covid-appropriate behaviour and Vaccination if implemented with utmost seriousness and commitment would be effective in curbing the spread of the Pandemic.

A special campaign for Covid appropriate behaviour with emphasis on 100% mask usage, personal hygiene and sanitation at public places /workplaces and health facilities will be organised from 6th April to 14 April 2021

The Prime Minister highlighted the need to enforce COVID appropriate behaviour in the coming days and ensure the availability of beds, testing facilities and timely hospitalization, etc. The Prime Minister called attention to avoid mortality under all circumstances by ramping up healthcare infrastructure, availability of oxygen, ventilators besides required logistics, and ensuring that clinical management protocols are followed across all hospitals as well as for those in-home care.

The Prime Minister directed that central teams consisting of public health specialists and clinicians be sent to Maharashtra in view of high case load and deaths, and likewise to Punjab and Chhattisgarh because of the disproportionate number of deaths being reported there.

The Prime Minister especially highlighted the need to ensure effective implementation of containment measures, besides the involvement of community volunteers in active case search and management of containment zones. He exhorted that all states need to take required stringent measures with comprehensive restrictions in places witnessing high surge to curb the spread.

A detailed presentation was made which highlighted that there is an alarming rate of growth of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the country with 10 states contributing to more than 91% of cases and deaths due to COVID. It was noted that the situation in Maharashtra, Punjab and Chhattisgarh is of serious concern. As of date, Maharashtra has contributed 57% of total cases in the country in the last 14 days and 47% of deaths in the country during the same period. In Maharashtra, the total number of new cases per day has touched 47,913 which is more than double its earlier peak. Punjab has contributed 4.5% of the total number of cases in the country in the last 14 days. However, it has contributed 16.3% of the total number of death, which is a matter of serious concern. Similarly, though Chhattisgarh has contributed 4.3% of total cases in the country over the last 14 days, its contribution in total death has exceeded 7% during the same period. The 10 high burden States and UTs are contributing 91.4% of total cases and 90.9% of total deaths in the country.

It was emphasized that the reasons for the sharper rise in cases could be mainly attributed to the severe decline in compliance of Covid-appropriate behaviour primarily in terms of use of masks and maintaining ‘2 Gaj ki Doori’, pandemic fatigue and lack of effective implementation of containment measures at the field level.

Although the exact contribution of mutant strains to the escalation of cases in some States remains speculative, the measures to control the pandemic remain the same and hence implementation of various protocols for COVID-19 management are all the more critical in those areas.

A brief presentation on the performance of COVID-19 vaccination drive was also made wherein details of the coverage of vaccination in various groups, performance with respect to other countries and analysis of State’s performance was deliberated upon. It was suggested that daily analysis of performance should be shared with States and UTs as feedback for corrective actions.

Research and development of vaccines were also discussed along with the production capacity of existing manufacturers and the capacity of vaccines that are under trials. It was informed that vaccine manufacturers are ramping up their production capacity and are also in discussion with other domestic and offshore companies to augment the same. It was highlighted that all efforts are underway to secure adequate quantities of vaccines to meet the rising domestic requirements as well as to meet the genuine needs of other countries in the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam’.

The Prime Minister directed to continue with the mission-mode approach in the states and districts reporting high cases so that the collective gains of COVID-19 management in the country in the last 15 months are not squandered.

The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary to PM, Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary, Chairperson (Empowered group on Vaccine Administration), Secretary Health, Secretary Pharmaceuticals, Secretary Biotechnology, Secretary AYUSH, DG ICMR, Principal Scientific Advisor to Govt of India and Member NITI Aayog besides other officials.

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