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PM urges five States worst-hit by Covid to ramp up testing

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 11, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a discussion with the Chief Ministers of 10 states via video conferencing on COVID-19 situation   -  PTI

Suggestion to Bihar, Gujarat, Telangana, UP and WB during course of video conference with chief ministers of various States

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday urged Bihar, Gujarat, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – which along with five other States account for nearly 80 per cent of the current Covid-19 cases — to ramp up testing as they were reporting higher levels of infections.

“In those States where testing rate is low and positivity rate is high, there is a need for ramping up testing,” Modi said in a virtual meeting with chief ministers. Apart from Chief Ministers of these States, their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu also participated in the video conference with the Prime Minister.

As against the national average of 506 tests per day per million, West Bengal is testing 256, Telangana 337, Gujarat 389, Uttar Pradesh 398 and Bihar 519 currently.

Modi said if the virus is defeated in these 10 States, the entire country will emerge victorious in the battle against Covid-19.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country as on Tuesday was 22.68 lakh of which, accounting for those that have recovered and those succumbed to the pandemic, 6.39 lakh are active cases. As many as 15.83 lakh have recovered while 45,257 people have died.

While providing feedback on the ground situation in their respective States, the Chief Ministers appraised the PM about steps being taken to increase testing, use of telemedicine and efforts being made to ramp up health infrastructure in the States. They also suggested the need for setting up an integrated medical infrastructure and requested Heath Ministry’s guidance in conducting sero-surveillance surveys.

Tamil Nadu demand

Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami used the opportunity to request the Prime Minister for special grant of ₹ 9,000 crore to combat the pandemic and mitigate its impact on the State economy.

He further said that the State has so far received ₹512.64 crore from the Centre in two tranches under the Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness package of a total of ₹712.64 crore allotted. “I request this package for the Tamil Nadu may be stepped up to ₹3,000 crore as per my earlier request,” Palaniswami said.

Maharasthra

The State which has the highest number of Covid cases in the country, informed the meeting about its plans to set up “epidemic control hospitals” in Mumbai and other districts. “The fight against Covid-19 is not yet ended. We will ensure that there is no second wave of Covid-19 in the State,” said State Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, adding that hospitals in the State have 3.5 lakh beds with oxygen, ventilators and other required facilities to treat Covid.

Andhra Pradesh

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy sought greater assistance from the Centre saying that “the new State has neither has big cities nor hospitals with huge infrastructure.”

Telangana

His counterpart in Telangana, K Chandrasekhar Rao, impressed upon the Prime Minister of the need for the Centre and the State working together to implement a comprehensive strategy to improve medial facilities. “Corona experience has taught us a lesson that there is an urgent need to step up medical facilities in the country. A visionary outlook and thinking is necessary to take proper and adequate measures in the medical sector for a better future,” Rao said.

Karnataka

With Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa still in home quarantine after his recovery from Covid infection, Karnataka was represented by two senior ministers — CN Ashwath Narayan and K Sudhakar and State Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar. The State requested the Centre to allow to utilise the services of final year medical students and students of paramedical courses in Covid and related activities. They also wanted the Centre to allow the State to increase the number of MBBS seats and postgraduate seats by 10,000 and 2,000 respectively, and insist on compulsory government service for those who complete postgraduate courses.

West Bengal

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sought the Centre's help in procuring more ventilators and high nasal canulas (that allow supplementary flow of oxygen to patients in need of respiratory help). She also wanted to know about guidelines on procurement and usage of Covid vaccines.

Defence Minister, Finance Minister and Health Minister among others attended the meeting.

The Prime Minister asked all the States to follow the mantra of tracing-and-testing all those who have come in contact with an infected person within 72 hours and added that containment, contact tracing and surveillance are the most effective weapons against the Covid pandemic.

He expressed confidence that the country can bring down the fatality rate below one per cent. On Tuesday, for the first time, case to fatality rate in India dropped below 2 per cent. “The current fatality rate in India is among the lowest in the world and is continuously going down,” the Prime Minister was quoted as saying.

Gujarat

The Chief Minister Vijay Rupani stated that Gujarat has achieved one of the highest recovery rates at 76 per cent. Over 10 lakh tests were carried out on Monday. Gujarat is testing 456 per million population. He also provided details of the hospital infrastructure and initiatives such as the Dhanvantari Rath, a mobile treatment facility that provides treatment facility at the patients’ doorstep.

With inputs from other BL Bureaus in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune

Published on August 11, 2020

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