Indian PM warns of second Covid wave, calls for quick control

New Delhi, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday called for putting an early stop to the “emerging second wave” of Covid-19 in the country as the country registered its highest daily caseload of this year.

“We will have to immediately stop the emerging second wave of corona and for this, we will have to take quick and decisive steps,” Modi said in a virtual meeting with the chief ministers of different states.

India registered 28,903 coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours from Tuesday – the worst figures in 2021 – after witnessing less than 10,000 daily infections in February.

The prime minister highlighted a low amount of vaccinations and testing in some parts of the county, coinciding with people’s relaxed approach.

“Our confidence should not turn into overconfidence. Our success should not turn into negligence,” said Modi, urging a “proactive” attitude by authorities.

However, he insisted that there was no need to “bring the public into panic mode” and create “an atmosphere of fear” while taking measures to contain the fresh wave in its initial phase.

The numbers are still far from the peak in September when the daily caseload had reached nearly 100,000.

With 11.4 million infections so far, India is the third-worst affected country by the pandemic worldwide after the US and Brazil.

However, declining cases and deaths in recent months have led to an easing of precautions even as most of the restrictions were lifted and people have thronged back to restaurants and markets.

The use of masks has become rare.

The biggest surge in cases has been registered in the western state of Maharashtra, which has Mumbai as its capital, with 17,864 fresh cases on Wednesday, signifying a 61 percent jump compared to the previous day.

Moreover, 84 percent of the total cases have been recorded in just 6 of the 36 states and territories, even though the numbers in the other five states are much lower than Maharashtra, with Kerala and Punjab registering 1,970 and 1,463 cases, respectively.

On the other hand, the national death toll within the last 24 hours stood at 188, much lower than the daily figure in September, when it had crossed the 1,200-mark.

A total of 159,044 people have been killed by the disease so far.

On the bright side, the vaccination campaign is well underway, with around 35 million doses administered since January.

However, there is a long way to go before the government can meet its target of vaccinating 300 million Indians by the end of the year.EFE-EPA


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