The momentum of the economy should be maintained, so it would be better to focus more on local containment to tackle COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.
Mr. Modi chaired a meeting with Chief Ministers and Lieutenant Governors / Administrators of States/Union Territories to review public health preparedness to tackle the pandemic and the national vaccination progress.
He said safeguarding the economy and the livelihood of common people while framing COVID strategies was vital. Cautioning that the Omicron variant was infecting the general public many times faster than the earlier variants, the Prime Minister said that irrespective of variants, vaccination remained the most potent way to deal with the pandemic.
“We have to be alert, be careful, but we also have to take care that there should be no panic situation,” Mr. Modi said.
Addressing the meeting, the Prime Minister noted that to defeat the virus, the country needed to keep its readiness ahead of every variant.
“Along with tackling Omicron, we need to start preparing for any future variant from now itself, ” he said. The Prime Minister added that India’s battle with the biggest pandemic of 100 years had now entered its third year. “Hard work is our only path and victory is our only option. We, 130 crore people of India, will surely emerge victorious against coronavirus with our efforts,” he said.
Mr. Modi stressed the need to keep on expanding the medical infrastructure and lauded the States for using the ₹23,000-crore package given earlier to revamp the health infrastructure. Under this, more than 800 paediatric units all over the country, 1.5 lakh new ICU and HDU beds, more than 5,000 special ambulances and more than 950 liquid medical oxygen storage tank capacity had been added, said a release issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.
At the meeting, Mr. Modi said made-in-India vaccines were proving their superiority all over the world and noted that it was a matter of pride for every Indian that today the country had given the first dose to about 92% of the adult population. The coverage of the second dose had also reached around 70%, he said.
Highlighting that within 10 days, India had vaccinated about 30 million of its adolescents, Mr. Modi said the sooner the precaution dose was given to front line workers and senior citizens, the more the capacity of our healthcare system would increase. “We have to intensify the Har Ghar Dastak campaign for 100% vaccination,” the Prime Minister said and stressed the need to counter any misinformation about vaccines or the practice of wearing masks.