NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday said there is an urgent need to ramp up testing in Bihar, Gujarat, UP, West Bengal and Telangana during an interaction with chief ministers of 10 states with heavy Covid-19 caseloads.
Modi urged the chief ministers to work hard on containment and contract-tracing strategies, saying defeating the virus in the 10 states that account for 80% of cases will mean that the entire country would emerge victorious in its fight against the disease. He also called on the CMs to reduce case fatality rate to 1%, which would indicate success in detecting infections early and ensuring proper clinical management.
The PM referred to home minister Amit Shah’s role in the plans developed and implemented for Delhi and the wider national capital region to say that the efforts showed that the spread of the virus can be checked and eventually controlled.
TOI had in its Tuesday’s edition carried a report on India faring poorly in terms of tests per million population as compared to countries like the US, Russia and UK. The government has said testing needs to be calibrated according to the positivity rates. The states named by the PM are, however, seen as a cause for concern in terms of large populations and incidence of the disease.
The states included in the discussions were Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Punjab besides the ones mentioned in the context of testing.
“Our experience so far is that containment, contact-tracing and surveillance are the most effective weapons against the pandemic, with experts of the view that if cases are identified within 72 hours of onset, then infection slows down to great extent,” the PM said.
He emphasised the need to trace and test all those who come in contact with an infected person within 72 hours. This should be followed like a “mantra”, with the same earnestness as washing hands, maintaining social distance and wearing masks, he said.
The PM also asked states like Bihar, Gujarat, UP, West Bengal, and Telangana to urgently ramp up testing for early detection and timely treatment. He told CMs of the 10 states that such meetings and discussions are necessary as new situations are emerging amid the pandemic.
The PM recounted Shah’s roadmap to tackle the pandemic in cooperation with Delhi and nearby states. “The main pillars of this strategy were segregation of containment zones and focus on screening, especially of those in high-risk categories. The results of these steps are there for all to see,” he said, adding steps like better management in hospitals and increasing ICU beds also proved very helpful.
Highlighting the decline in Covid-19 fatality rate in the country, Modi said it was a matter of satisfaction and noted that it has been very low compared to the world average. Currently, the death rate due to Covid-19 in India stands at 1.99%. It has shown a significant drop from 3.33% in mid-June and 2.72% on July 10. The percentage of active cases in the total number of infected cases have also started showing a decline, while the recovery rate is increasing. The PM noted that these steps have boosted the confidence of people.