Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:
An immediate audit of installation and operation of ventilators - provided by the central government to states - should be carried out, the Prime Minister said today as he "took serious note of some reports about ventilators lying unutilised in storage in some states," a statement from his office read. Training should be provided to healthcare workers if necessary, he said.
The remarks come two days after the Health Ministry dismissed reports suggesting that ventilators supplied by the centre - financed from the PM-CARES Fund - to a state-run hospital in Punjab's Faridkot are lying unused because of technical glitches.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday in a tweet stressed that medical equipment supplied by the centre is "not faulty". "It's appalling how even relief measures are bearing the brunt of an infodemic being fuelled by vested interests using baseless reports & incomplete facts (sic)," he wrote, referring to some media reports suggesting that "'Make in India' ventilators in the Aurangabad district of Maharashtra were not functioning optimally".
The Prime Minister today also said "localised containment strategies are the need of the hour specially for states where TPR (test positivity rate) is high".
The second wave of Covid has hit rural areas hard. A distribution plan for ensuring oxygen supply in rural areas should be worked out, the Prime Minister said at today's meeting, including provision of oxygen concentrators. Door-to-door testing and surveillance and augmentation of health resources should be focussed, he stressed.
Testing has gone up rapidly in the states from around 50 lakh tests per week in early March to around 1.3 crore tests per week now, the Prime Minister was told today. States should be "encouraged to report the numbers transparently without any pressure of high numbers showing adversely on their efforts," PM Modi underlined.
While experts suggest India needs to step up vaccination drive to check the spread of Covid, states have been red-flagging shortage of doses. Today, the Prime Minister said states should work closely with officials to ramp up the speed of vaccination.
Amid criticism, the government on Thursday said about 200 crore Covid doses are expected to be available by end of this year. So far, over 18 crore doses have been administered. The country has a population of 1.3 billion.
With India reporting over 3 lakh cases everyday for the last few weeks, opposition leaders have been attacking the government over the tackling of the second wave. Shortage of medical oxygen and distress messages - flooding social media - have caught global attention. India's fight against Covid has been guided throughout by scientists and will continue being guided by them, PM insisted today.
"The pain that citizens have suffered, that many experienced, I am feeling it equally," PM Modi said on Friday while addressing an online event. He further said: "The pandemic, the worst in 100 years, is testing the world at every step. There is an invisible enemy before us."