Chennai / Bengaluru / Thiruvananthapuram:
Southern state chief ministers on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase vaccine supply to ensure maximum protection for people ahead of a third wave of Covid-19 strikes.
Interacting with the prime minister via video conference, chief ministers briefed him on steps taken to control the spread of the coronavirus even though cases were on the rise.
In a video interaction with the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha, Maharashtra and Kerala, where many districts have reported high numbers of cases, Modi said the country was at a point in its battle against the pandemic where apprehensions about a third wave are expressed.
These states accounted for 80% of new Covid-19 cases last week and 84% of deaths, the prime minister noted in his closing remarks, specifically mentioning the increase in infections in Kerala and Maharashtra as a serious concern for the country.
A similar trend was seen in January and February before the start of the second wave, he said. It is very important that states with an increasing number of cases take proactive steps to rule out any possibility of a third wave, Modi said.
The Prime Minister emphasized an effective methodology for tracing, tracking and vaccination, asking states to strengthen the micro-zone containment strategy, which has helped some states like Assam to control Covid without imposing a lock.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the Covid-19 situation in the state was under control. In Kerala, the second wave started very late and at one point its test positivity rate jumped to 30%, but it is now around 10%, he said, adding that the rate of The state’s mortality remained the nation’s lowest at 0.48%.
Vijayan said the state administered the first dose of vaccination to 11.7 million people and both doses to 4.41 million, maintaining zero vaccine waste. The state has a population of 30.46 million. The Kerala CM has requested an additional six million doses to cover a large part of the population.
Kerala has contributed to the highest number of Covid cases among any state since June 15. On Thursday, it reported 13,773 new cases, nearly a quarter of the national total of 41,806, according to data from the state’s health ministry. His test positivity rate was 10.95% while the national average was below 3%. The virus has shown no signs of slowing down in Kerala with new daily cases hovering around 10,000 since March.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said the state has been doing reasonably well in tackling the pandemic despite the lack of modern medical facilities like in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. He said the newly established village / neighborhood secretariat system played a key role in the effective containment of Covid. 12 fever investigations have helped contain the spread of the virus.
The CM indicated that out of 17.71.580 doses given to private hospitals, only 4.20.209 were used in June. He called on the prime minister to allocate the remaining stocks in private hospitals to the government, so that the vaccination process is speeded up.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa urged the prime minister to provide at least 10.5 million doses of Covid vaccine to the state each month, saying Covid cases in Karnataka have fallen to 1,900 per day and in Bangalore about 400 cases per day.
Stating that Karnataka has so far received 20.62 million vaccines, the chief minister asked the prime minister to provide 10.5 million doses of vaccine with a target of 500,000 doses each day, according to a statement from the government. Yediyurappa also told Modi that district authorities have been allowed to impose penalties based on the rate of Covid-19 positivity, the number of cases and the opinion of the technical advisory committee. He also informed the Prime Minister of the measures taken to deal with the planned third wave.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MP Stalin requested 10 million doses of vaccine as a special case and urged the prime minister to exempt all goods needed to run Covid from the goods and services tax (TPS). He also said the Center should reconsider its decision to hold national-level reviews like the NEET, as this could lead to the spread of the virus.
Demand for vaccines has increased dramatically in Tamil Nadu, Stalin said. However, compared to other states, the allowance for our state is much lower. To deal with this difficult situation, I had requested a special allowance of one crore of vaccine doses. I look forward to your support in this important matter, he told Modi. Stalin said Tamil Nadu reduced vaccine wastage from 6% to 0%.
On July 13, Stalin said that until July 8, Tamil Nadu had received 29,18110 doses of vaccine from the Center for people aged 18 to 44 and 1,308,440 for those over 45. The allowance was grossly insufficient and TN did not receive vaccines commensurate with its population, Stalin said in a letter to Modi.
(With contributions from the agency)
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