New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday (April 8) that people have become far too casual now and a strict vigilance needs to follow at least for the next two weeks while appealing to people to stress the COVID-19 testing.

Addressing a meeting of the chief ministers on the current COVID-19 situation, PM Modi said, “Earlier we did not have the infrastructure to deal with the pandemic and we had to use lockdown as a tool…but today we do not need a lockdown.”

“There is a need to improve the governance system. I understand that because of the one-year battle, the system can experience tiredness and there can be laxity, but we must tighten it for 2-3 weeks and strengthen the governance,” PM Modi added. 

The Prime Minister said, “We need to fight the second surge in cases. Many states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Punjab have crossed the first wave of the peak in COVID-19 cases.”

“This is a serious concern. People have become complacent. In most states administration has also become relaxed. There is a need to work on war footing again to fight COVID19. Despite all the challenges, we have a better experience, resources, and a vaccine,” PM Modi added.

The Prime Minister further said, “I appeal to you all to stress on COVID-19 testing. Our target is to do 70% RT-PCR tests. Let the number of positive cases come high, but do maximum testing. Proper sample collection is very important, it can be checked through proper governance. Testing in bulk is very necessary ”

Expressing concern over the situation, Modi said, “First, the country has crossed the peak of the first wave, and this time the growth rate is faster than before,” asking the states to use the term ‘corona curfew’ in place of night curfew. 

PM Modi added, “We must concentrate on micro-containment zones. In places where night curfew has been imposed, I would urge to use the word ‘Corona Curfew’, to continue alertness about coronavirus. It will be better to start curfew timing from 9pm or 10pm till 5am or 6am.” 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee did not attend the meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the COVID-19 situation, as she was busy in election campaigning ahead of the fourth phase of the assembly elections. The meeting, held through video conferencing, was attended by West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

Notably, the new COVID-19 cases in the country went to an all-time high on Thursday crossing the 1.26 lakh mark. According to the Union Health Ministry, the country recorded 1,26,789 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours. With this fresh surge, the total count of cases has reached 1,29,28,574. With 685 new COVID-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the toll in the country has gone up to 1,66,862.

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