India will fight Covid like last year with “even greater speed and coordination”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday as he reviewed the Covid situation in the country amid a frightening surge in infections. With several states reporting a shortage of Covid vaccines amid a fast-growing second wave, the Prime Minister urged the officials to “utilise the entire national capacity to ramp up vaccine production”.
“Reviewed preparedness to handle the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Aspects relating to medicines, oxygen, ventilators and vaccination were discussed. Like we did last year, we will successfully fight COVID with even greater speed and coordination,” PM Modi said in a tweet after the meeting.
India’s caseload rose to 1.45 crore infections on Saturday as the country added 2.34 lakh fresh cases – highest single-day surge so far – to the tally. For the third straight day, India saw over 2 lakh fresh cases in a day; over 10 lakh cases have been recorded just in the last six days.
Reviewed preparedness to handle the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Aspects relating to medicines, oxygen, ventilators and vaccination were discussed. Like we did last year, we will successfully fight COVID with even greater speed and coordination. https://t.co/cxhTxLtxJa
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 17, 2021
“There is no substitute to testing, tracking and treatment,” the Prime Minister said at the meet, according to a government statement, as he also insisted that “local administrations need to be proactive and sensitive to people’s concerns”.
Several states, including Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, have red-flagged low oxygen reserves. In response to the desperate appeals, the Prime Minister on Saturday said “installation of approved medical oxygen plants should be accelerated”.
While hospital beds continue to be a key concern with cases rising, PM Modi said “all necessary measures must be taken to ramp up the availability”.
There is a need to utilise the full potential of India’s pharmaceutical industry to meet the rising demand of various medicines, he added.
Delhi is one of the states in the last few days that sounded an alarm over the Covid situation. Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday said that the city was fast running out of beds, oxygen and the life-saving drug Remdesivir.
“The situation is very serious and worrisome,” Mr Kejriwal said. “Cases have gone up really fast. That is why we are facing shortages even though everything seemed under control until a few days ago. But the speed at which this corona is growing, no one knows where its peak will be,” he added.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday urged PM Modi to make COVID- 19 vaccines available in the open market for citizens willing to buy them. “As this is an extraordinary situation, our
governments should run the extra mile,” he said.
On Friday, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote to the Prime Minister, saying the state has completely run out of vaccines.
The government’s handling of Covid has come under criticism from the opposition parties. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Saturday said India has been “caught off-guard” despite a year to prepare.