Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasized the need to increase focus on "effective testing, tracing, treatment and surveillance" to bring the coronavirus outbreak in the country under control. In his virtual review meet with Chief Ministers of seven states with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country this evening, he also spoke of the need for clear messaging to dispel rumours about testing.
"Effective messaging is also necessary because most COVID19 infections are without symptoms," PM Modi said. "In such a situation, rumours may rise. It might raise doubts in the minds of the people that testing is bad. Some people also make mistake of underestimating the severity of infection," he added.
PM Modi also asked the states to reassess if lockdowns of one or two days are effective in containing COVID-19 and told them to press on with full strength in opening economic activities while fighting the virus. "Micro containment zones" should be the way forward to curb the spread of the infection allow economic activities to go on, he said.
The states attending today's meet include Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab. More than 63 per of the active cases in the country are concentrated in these seven states, reported news agency Press Trust of India quoting government officials.
The states also account for 65.5 per cent of the total cases and 77 per cent of the total deaths.
Recently, some of the states, like Delhi and Punjab, have seen a spurt in cases. Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi have also seen a greater number of fatalities, with more than 2.0 per cent case fatality rate, officials say.
India logged 83,527 fresh cases of coronavirus this morning -- a tally of 24 hours -- which took the total to over 56 lakh cases. The country has also seen more than 90,000 deaths. The nation second worst-hit in the world after the US, has been the maximum daily tally of cases since August.
State health ministers are also attending the meeting that began a short while ago. Other than Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, the case positivity rate of these states has also been seen to be above the national average of 8.52 per cent.
Maharashtra remains the state hit hardest by the pandemic, with over 12.42 lakh COVID -19 cases and 33,015 deaths. It is followed by Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.