India could have better managed the coronavirus crisis by learning from countries already hit by a second wave, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said today. Speaking at the NDTV Solutions Summit, he also stressed on the need to fast-track approval for foreign-made vaccines under these circumstances. India recorded its deadliest day of the pandemic with 1,501 deaths in the past 24 hours.
"The second wave is far more concerning. Numbers are rising rapidly. Apart from the elderly, the young who have contracted Covid are also dying. This is also a big concern now. We should have learnt from other countries. People sitting in Delhi should have seen this and should have directed the people," Mr Baghel said.
Mr Baghel also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi's diplomacy under which millions of doses of anti-Covid vaccines were gifted to other countries. "You are sending Remdesivir to different countries. We should vaccinate people below 45 years (in India)," he said.
India's vaccine initiative received the praise of the global community, including the World Health Organisation. However, the country's humanitarian gesture hit a roadblock last month as several states, including worst-hit Maharashtra, reported a severe shortage as they planned to ramp up the vaccination drive.
"Two vaccine makers not enough. I think we can increase this production," Mr Baghel said about the situation.
He also criticised the violation of Covid protocol at election rallies and the Kumbh mela in Haridwar amid the pandemic. Praising Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for suspending all his public rallies in West Bengal, Mr Baghel said, "Politicians should be role models for us. No leader has said will not do rallies due to Covid. PM Modi himself is doing so many rallies. This is Gandhi's country. We should teach people and then they can learn."
Referring to instances of under-reporting in many states, he said, "When people are not testing, how will you say they are covid positive? When people die, we come to know they were positive. We should increase testing."
Mr Baghel also pointed out that Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh are vaccinating at a slower place than Chhattisgarh.
Mr Baghel's colleague and Health Minister TS Singh Deo said that more number of cases are being reported among the youth and in rural areas.
"We don't have ICU beds, oxygenated beds. We have lack of injections like Remdesivir. We may be falling short of steroidal medicines. All these points where we are falling short, at not yet peak of the second wave, we must prepare for all this for the next phase. If it is not going to be Corona, it will be something else. That is for sure," Mr Deo said.
This morning, India recorded the biggest daily surge in cases with 2,61,500 infections, taking the caseload to 1.47 crore total cases. With 16,083 infections, Chhattisgarh was among the top five states yesterday in terms of the number of new cases reported.