PM Modi Reviews COVID-19 Situation in North-East India

PM Narendra Modi reviewed the COVID-19 situation in North East today along with Chief Ministers of the 8 North-Eastern States of India. This comes on the back of increasing cases in North-East of India amidst the ‘revenge travel’ phenomenon that we had discussed in our previous article too.

Today’s meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram via video conferencing.

Steps Taken to Combat Sudden Spike in Cases in North-East

The North-Eastern states have witnessed a recent spike in COVID-19 cases, despite a decrease in the number of cases across India.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that around 80% of the COVID-19 cases in India at the moment are being witnessed from 90 districts. As many as 14 of them are from the northeast.

Many states of North-East are reporting High Test Positivity Rates (TPR) with Sikkim reporting 19.4%, Manipur at 15.2% and Mizoram at 11% between July 5 and 11.

A recent letter circulated by the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan pointed out that Arunachal Pradesh is an area of concern considering the that the state has a weekly positivity rate of 16.2% (between June 28 and July 4) and the trend has seen an upward rise.

The Central Government had rushed multi-disciplinary expert teams to six states earlier this month, four of which were from the North Eastern region, namely Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, and Tripura.

Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba also held an interaction with the officials of the North-Eastern States’ Home Departments amid concerns over rising cases of coronavirus infection in the region.

PM Emphasises on Micro Containment Protocol and Ramping Vaccination

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday asked the Chief Ministers of the North-Eastern States to focus on micro containment zones to tide over Covid-19 crisis.

The Prime Minister expressed his worry over the growing number of cases in some districts and stressed the need to identify these patterns and take strict actions at the micro level itselg. He reemphasized the use of micro containment protocol in order to deal 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

PM Modi added that ‘Free COVID-19 vaccine For All’ campaign run by Union Government has equal importance in the North East and that to combat the third wave, we have to keep accelerating the process of vaccination

He also spoke on the measures taken to improving the infrastructure related to testing and treatment on COVID-19. He added that for this specific purpose, Union Cabinet had recently approved a new package of Rs 23,000 crore for improving health infrastructure related to COVID-19.

Under this scheme, support would be provided to Central Hospitals, AIIMS, and other Institutions of National Importance for repurposing 6,688 beds for COVID-19 management.

20,000 paediatric beds including 4,000 Paediatric ICU beds with Paediatric units will be established in all 736 districts. Paediatric Centre of Excellence will also be established in every State and Union Territory.

PM Modi added that this package will help every state in the North East to strengthen its health infrastructure. PM Modi informed that hundreds of oxygen plants are being established in the country through support from PM-CARES; Northeast too will receive about 150 plants. The Prime Minister requested the Chief Ministers to complete the process of establishing these plants at the earliest.

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.

PM Modi warns against Revenge Travel

PM Modi emphasised the need to keep an eye on every variant of the virus and added that experts were constantly studying the impact of new variants after the mutation. He also emphasised on the contunual importance of prevention and treatment as the pandemic is far from over.

Modi Government has expanded study of genome sequencing in India and has enabled 28 laboratories to monitor the genomic variations in SARS-CoV-2.

Giving strong warning against revenge travel, PM said that while it is true that tourism has been greatly affected due to COVID-19, it is not okay to have huge crowds in hill stations, markets without wearing masks or following COVID-19 appropriate behavior.

Whether it is proactively ramping oxygen supply, ramping up vaccination, giving special focus to prevent cases in rural areas to now monitoring cases in North-east, Modi government is pulling out all the stops to combat COVID-19.