The PM’s comments to chief ministers of northeastern states came even as top Union government officials highlighted evidence to show the third wave already forming around the world and stressed the need to immediately step up measures and be vigilant. They said warnings of the third wave were being casually discussed in the manner of weather reports.
“It is true tourism and business have been greatly affected due to corona, but today I will say with great emphasis that it is not right to have huge crowds in hill stations and markets without masks,” Modi said during his interaction with the CMs of NE states, which are seeing high positivity rates.
Citing examples of countries like the UK, Russia, Bangladesh and Indonesia that are witnessing a surge in daily Covid-19 cases after a decline, the health officials raised concerns over higher number of cases getting reported from across the world.
“When we talk about the third wave, we are taking it as a weather update and not understanding its seriousness and our responsibilities associated with it,” joint secretary in health ministry, Lav Agarwal, said at a media briefing.
“Higher number of cases are getting reported across the world. This is a matter of serious concern for us. We should understand the trajectory of cases in our country as well as outside, and take precautions accordingly so that the infection is not able to spread again in our country,” Agarwal said.
In his interaction, the PM spoke of the need to detect early signals of growing number of cases in some districts and take strict action at the micro level by creating containment zones to avoid further spread.
The PM will also interact with CMs of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra and Kerala on July 16.
“The world is witnessing a third wave. We’ve to join hands to ensure that third wave doesn’t hit India,” Niti Aayog Member Dr V K Paul said, expressing similar worries over people crowding hill stations and markets without observing precautions.
The overall daily new cases across the world have increased to 3.9 lakh (July 12), which is nearly 40% of around 9 lakh cases reported on April 29 during the second wave. A distinct rise in cases is also seen in the UK and Russia with over 34,000 and 25,000 daily cases reported respectively following a decline. Neighbouring countries of Bangladesh and Indonesia are also witnessing a serious surge in cases.
In India, while overall cases are on a declining trajectory, the government is concerned over some states reporting a rise in number of cases that may result in wider spread in the absence of immediate measures. A total of 31,443 new cases of Covid-19 were recorded from across the country on Monday, taking the total active caseload to over 4.31 lakh cases.
Though the government acknowledged the impact of the pandemic on tourism and business, it dismissed the argument that people have been locked up inside their houses for long and therefore want to enjoy before the third wave arrives.
Raising concerns over gross violations of Covid norms and people giving excuses to not wear masks and follow physical distancing, the government said it is a continuous fight between the virus and human beings with no scope for complacency.
The PM also asked states to speed up vaccinations and rope in celebrities and people from social, religious and educational sectors to encourage people to take the jab.
He also underlined the need to establish temporary hospitals due to the geographical situation of the northeast and prepare trained manpower.
The PM highlighted the need to augment testing infrastructure in the affected districts on priority to ensure aggressive testing along with random testing.