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Beware of new coronavirus variants, fight is on: PM Narendra Modi

Says maintain economic momentum; focus on local curbs

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Omicron | Narendra Modi | Coronavirus

Ruchika Chitravanshi  |  New Delhi 

Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

India’s pandemic preparations, while defeating Omicron, have to take into account variants of that might emerge, Prime Minister said on Thursday.

“We are in the third year of our fight against the biggest pandemic in a hundred years … Hard work is our only path and victory is our only option,” he said.

Modi, while interacting with chief ministers on the Covid situation in India, said the way the Central and the state governments had adopted a pre-emptive, proactive, and collective approach against the pandemic should be the guiding principle in victory this time too.

“Our cooperation will give strength to our fight against Corona. We will emerge victorious,” the prime minister said.

He said it was important to safeguard the economy and livelihood of people while devising strategies to control the pandemic.

“The momentum of the economy should be maintained. The states must focus on local containment.”

The prime minister’s review meeting comes on a day India recorded the highest number of cases in the ongoing third wave with almost 250,000 infections, according to the data released by the health ministry on Thursday morning.

The daily positivity rate has jumped to more than 13 per cent and the weekly positivity rate is close to 11 per cent.

Modi said was a new challenge that was leading to a rise in cases. He added while medical infrastructure and manpower had to be ramped up, vaccination remained the most potent way to deal with the pandemic, irrespective of the variants.

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Urging the states to accelerate the “Har Ghar Dastak”, door-to-door campaigns for vaccination, he said the sooner the precaution dose was administered to front line workers and senior citizens, the better prepared India’s health care system would be.

About 92 per cent of the adults have taken their first dose of the Covid vaccine and close to 70 per cent are fully vaccinated.

Nearly 30 million adolescents in the age group 15-17 have received their first dose in 10 days, Modi said.

While Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren highlighted the misconceptions in some rural and tribal areas creating hurdles in the vaccination drive, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee talked about the possible increase in cases in the state on account of upcoming festivities and the administration’s preparations to tackle it.

“We must not become lax in our alertness in the festive season, but ensure there is no panic,” Modi said.

He said initial scepticism about the variant was slowly getting cleared as it had shown to have infected the general population several times faster than the previous ones.

The cases in India stand at 5,488.

V K Paul, member (health), NITI Aayog, had said on Wednesday the Omicron variant was becoming a dominant strain in India.

Modi also said that using the emergency package for Covid, more than 800 paediatric units all over the country, 150,000 new ICU and HDU beds, more than 5,000 special ambulances, and over 950 liquid medical oxygen storage tank capacity had been added.

“We need to keep on expanding this infrastructure,” the prime minister said.

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First Published: Thu, January 13 2022. 19:49 IST
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