Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently holding an interaction with Chief Ministers of several states and Union Territories to review the COVID-19 situation in the country and the ongoing vaccination drive. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Chhattisgarh Chief minister Bhupesh Baghel are not attending the crucial discussion. According to news agency , Mamata has cited her pre-scheduled election meetings as a reason for not attending the meeting.
The meeting comes in the backdrop of a fresh wave of coronavirus in the country. According to the Union Health Ministry data, a total of 28,903 cases, the highest so far this year and an increase for the seventh day in a row, have been recorded in the last 24 hours, taking the COVID-19 tally to 1,14,38,734. The death toll increased to 1,59,044 with 188 new fatalities, the highest in around two months.
The Centre is planning to ramp up the inoculation exercise amid a rise in infection in some states. PM Modi’s interaction with the CMs is not a new, an exercise which he has been holding regularly since the outbreak of the pandemic. Modi’s last interaction with chief ministers was in January before the vaccination roll-out. He had announced that the Centre will bear the expenses of vaccinating nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first round and suggested that public representatives, a reference to politicians, should not be part of this initial exercise. The drive has now moved on to the next round to cover people over 60 years of age, and those aged above 45 years and have comorbidities.
The Health Ministry data showed that total active caseload has increased to 2,34,406 which now comprises 2.05 per cent of the total infections, while the recovery rate has further dropped to 96.56 per cent.
Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu continue to report a high number of daily COVID-19 cases, accounting for 71.10 per cent of the 28,903 new infections, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.