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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for an increase in Covid-19 testing and asked states to report their infection figures accurately and transparently as he chaired a meeting on the pandemic situation in the country.
He directed officials to come up with a distribution plan for ensuring oxygen and power supply to rural areas as the cases have surged in villages as well.
“The Prime Minister instructed that testing needs to be scaled up further, with use of both RT-PCR [reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction] and Rapid Tests, especially in areas with high test positivity rates,” a statement issued after the meeting said.
Officials briefed PM Modi at the meeting and told him the testing has gone up rapidly in the country, from around five million per week in early March to over 10 million now. They also informed him about the gradual decrease in test positivity and increase in recovery rate. The cases that had gone over 40,00,00 daily are now coming down, Modi was told.
PM Modi also called for augmenting healthcare resources in rural areas to focus on door-to-door testing and surveillance. “He also spoke about empowering ASHA [Accredited Social Health Activist] & Anganwadi workers with all necessary tools. PM [Prime Minister] asked for guidelines to be made available in easy language along with illustrations for home isolation and treatment in rural areas,” the statement said.
On Friday, PM Modi warned about the spread of Covid-19 in rural areas and urged the village panchayats to ensure proper awareness and sanitation.
“India’s fight against Covid has been guided throughout by scientists and subject experts and will continue being guided by them,” he said. He called localised containment strategies the need of the hour, especially in states with high positivity rates.
The statement said PM Modi took serious note of the news reports about unutilised ventilators in storage units and directed an immediate audit of their installation and operations. Modi instructed officials to conduct training for the proper use of medical devices such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators.
Officials gave him a detailed presentation on the state and district level situation of oxygen availability, testing, healthcare infrastructure, and vaccination roadmap.
In a tweet, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi separately kept up his attack on the government over its Covid-19 strategy and said its “disastrous vaccine strategy” will ensure a devastating third wave. “It can’t be repeated enough- India needs a proper vaccine strategy!”