COVID-19 Antigen testing in Maharashtra. Photo credit: Ganesh Dhamodkar ( via Wikimedia Commons)
The Union Council of Ministers on April 30 noted that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a ‘once in a century crisis’ that has thrown a big challenge for the world.
Chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the council met to discuss the situation arising out of the second wave of the pandemic that has led to more than three lakh daily cases being registered for the past nine days.
India reported 3.86 lakh new COVID-19 infections as per the latest Health Ministry data as a shortage of oxygen and drugs continues to overwhelm the health system. With 3,502 deaths registered on April 29, the country has now seen over 3,000 deaths from the killer virus for the past three days.
The federal approach towards fighting COVID-19, based on the collective efforts of the Centre, state governments and citizens, was highlighted in the meet.
"PM Narendra Modi said that all arms of the government are working unitedly and rapidly to deal with the situation. He also urged the ministers to stay in touch with people of their respective regions, help them and keep getting their feedback," the government said in a press release after the meeting.
Modi also stressed upon the need to ensure that issues at the local level are promptly identified and addressed.
The ministers also briefed efforts by the Centre in coordination with the states towards building up infrastructure in the form of ramping up hospital beds, resolving issues in production, storage and transport of Oxygen and tackling matters relating to availability of essential medicines.
The measures being taken to further ramp up their supply and availability were also pointed out. The support measures to the vulnerable population in the form of provision of foodgrains and financial support to Jan Dhan account holders were also pointed out.
It was also noted that India could successfully produce two vaccines and there are many candidates at the various stages of approval and induction. According to figures released by the government earlier today, the Centre has provided nearly 16.33 crore vaccine doses (16,33,85,030) to states free of cost. Of this, the total consumption including wastages is 15.3 lakh.
The Council of Ministers also stressed the importance of COVID appropriate behaviour– wearing a mask, keeping physical distance of six feet and washing hands frequently.