PM Narendra Modi to meet all CMs on Wednesday amid spike in COVID-19 cases

NEW DELHI: Amid a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a video conference with all chief ministers on Wednesday to discuss the prevailing COVID-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination drive to contain the pandemic.

According to reports, the virtual meeting will be held around 12.30 PM on March 17. The meeting has been called in the wake of a massive surge in coronavirus cases in several states.

The Prime Minister, who has been holding regular communication with all ‘the chief ministers of all states/UTs and top health officials since the outbreak of the pandemic, had last interacted with them in January before the launch of the COVID-19 mass vaccination programme.

The PM had announced that the Centre will bear the expenses of vaccinating nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first round and suggested that public representatives, a reference to politicians, should not be part of this initial exercise.

The mass vaccination drive is now in its second stage in which people over 60 years of age, and those aged above 45 years and having comorbidities are being vaccinated.

On Monday, India registered 26,291 cases, a rise of 8,700 active cases. This is also the highest single-day spike in 85 days, taking the country’s infection tally to 1,13,85,339, according to Union Health Ministry data.

The number of deaths due to the pandemic increased to 1,58,725 with 118 more fatalities being recorded in 24 hours.

As many as 24 states and Union territories reported a rise in active cases, with Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka registering a maximum number of cases at 16,600, 1,800, 1,500 and 934 new cases, respectively.

According to the Health Ministry, a rising trajectory of daily new cases is visible in eight states – Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka.

There are a total of 2,19,262 active cases in the country which is 1.93 per cent of the total infections in the country, while the recovery rate has dropped to 96.68 per cent, the data stated.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said negligence towards COVID-19 appropriate behaviour is to be blamed for rising cases of COVID-19, adding that few states account for more than 80 per cent of the cases.

The Health Minister also urged people to follow coronavirus appropriate behaviour like wearing masks and maintaining social distancing despite the availability of a vaccine against the disease.