A video conference convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Covid-19 situation on 13 July 2021 has been attended by the Chief Ministers of Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam. The Chief Ministers thanked the Prime Minister for timely action in handling the Covid pandemic. They appreciated his special care and concern for the northeastern states. Apart from the Chief Ministers, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya, DoNER Minister G. Kishan Reddy and MoS B. L. Verma also attended the meeting.
The Chief Ministers briefed about the progress of vaccination in their states and steps that are being taken to take vaccines to far flung areas. They also discussed the issue of vaccine hesitancy and measures being taken to overcome it. They gave an account of improvement in medical infrastructure to better tackle Covid cases and the support lent through the PM CARES Fund. They gave assurance of taking timely action to bring down the positivity rate as well as the number of cases in their States.
The Prime Minister was informed about the status of medical oxygen production, ICU beds, oxygen beds, isolation wards etc as part of the Covid-19 treatment infrastructure in the region. Dr Sarma requested the Prime Minister to increase the allotment of vaccines to Assam so that the vaccination target for the entire population can be achieved at the earliest.
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister lauded the people, health workers and the governments of Northeast for their hard work in the fight against the pandemic and creating infrastructure for testing, treatment and vaccination despite the difficult terrain of the states.
The Prime Minister expressed his worry over the growing number of cases in some districts and stressed the need to catch these signals and take strict actions at the micro level. He reemphasized the use of micro containment protocol in dealing with the situation. He asked to make full use of the experience and best practices gathered over the last one and half years in this regard.
Noting the fast mutating nature of the virus, the Prime Minister advised strict monitoring of the mutation and keep track of all variants. He informed experts are studying the mutations and their impact. In such scenario, prevention and treatment are critical, he said emphasizing covid appropriate behaviour. Shri Modi emphasized that utility of physical distancing, mask, vaccine is clear. Similarly, strategy of testing tracking and treatment is a proven strategy.
The Prime Minister said that in the 'vaccine for all-free for all' campaign of the central government, Northeast too has the same importance and we need to keep accelerating the vaccination process.Acknowledging the impact of pandemic on tourism and business, the Prime Minister strongly cautioned against crowding at hill stations without observing proper precautions. Rejecting the argument that people want to enjoy before the arrival of the third wave, he said that this need to be understood that the third wave will not come on its own. He said that the main question in our mind should be how to prevent the third wave. Experts are repeatedly warning against carelessness and crowding as they can lead to massive surge in cases. He strongly advocated preventing avoidable crowding.
The Prime Minister said that in the 'vaccine for all-free for all' campaign of the central government, Northeast too has the same importance and we need to keep accelerating the vaccination process. To deal with the myths pertaining to vaccination and mobilising people, the Prime Minister asked to enlist the help of social, educational institutes, celebrities and also the organizations of religious faith. He asked to accelerate the vaccination drive in the areas where spread of the virus is expected.
Interacting, the Assam CM Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the Government has followed the 'Testing-Tracking-Treatment' strategy of the Prime Minister and managed to contain the pandemic by declaring more than 6000 micro-containment zones without going for total lockdown. Both economy and Covid fight were sustained simultaneously, he said. He expressed confidence that the Assam's positivity rate would be brought down to below 1% at the earliest.
While referring to the recent Cabinet approval of Rs 23000 crore package for improving the infrastructure for testing and treatment, the Prime Minister said that the package will help in strengthening the health infrastructure of Northeast. This package will expedite testing, diagnostics, genome sequencing in Northeast. The Prime Minister stressed the need for quickly increasing number of beds, oxygen facilities and paediatric care infrastructure in Northeast. The Prime Minister informed that hundreds of oxygen plants are being established in the country through PM-CARES and Northeast too got about 150 plants. The Prime Minister requested the Chief Ministers to complete the process of establishing these plants quickly.
The Prime Minister underlined the need to establish temporary hospital due to the geographical situation of the northeast. He also asked to prepare trained manpower as oxygen plants, ICU wards, new machines that are reaching two block level hospitals will need this manpower. He assured all help from the central government.
Noting the capacity of 20 lakh tests per day in the country, the Prime Minister highlighted the need to augment the testing infrastructure in the affected district on priority. He stressed aggressive testing along with random testing. The Prime Minister expressed the hope that with the collective efforts we will surely be able to contain the spread.