Amid the continued spike in COVID-19 cases in the northeast, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a videoconference with chief ministers of eight states in the region of Tuesday.
The meeting addressed by Modi was also attended by Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and other junior ministers. The chief ministers of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura were in attendance.
"The number of COVID-19 cases is rising. We need to take strict action to curb the situation at the micro level. We need to keep an eye on COVID variants, experts are studying them. We need to encourage people to follow COVID-19-appropriate behaviour," Modi was quoted as saying by ANI.
"It's a matter of concern that people are travelling without face masks at hill stations and marketplaces and to combat the possible third wave of COVID19, we need to continue to accelerate the vaccination process," Modi stressed.
Modi also referred to the threat of a third wave of COVID-19. Modi was quoted by The Hindu as saying, "People should be made aware that the third wave will not come on its own, such [irresponsible] behaviour may usher it. We have to tighten our protocol to deal with third wave. Experts are warning that negligence of protocols will lead to exponential growth in infections."
Modi emphasised, "Every citizen should be motivated to follow the precautions needed, whether civil society or religious groups. Tourism, trade and commerce have been affected, but I must stress that heavy crowds in hill stations without masks is a major issue," The Hindu reported.
Referring to measures for the northeast, Modi said, "Rs 23,000 crore package for COVID-19 has been approved and northeast states will also benefit with regard to health infrastructure like testing labs, oxygen facilities, genome sequencing labs," The Hindu reported.
Modi noted, "Northeast must also do aggressive testing in cluster blocks. I believe that with our cooperative work including civil society we will be able to deal with COVID-19".