PM Modi: Concerned to see huge crowds in hill stations
(Sourced from PTI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said it is a matter of concern that big crowds are thronging hill stations and market areas without masks and social distancing. During an interaction with chief ministers of eight North-Eastern states through video conferencing, the prime minister also said the vaccination drive needs to be continuously ramped up to combat the third wave of the pandemic.
The video conferencing was attended by chief ministers of Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, and Mizoram, as also by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, among others. Modi urged people not to compromise on COVID-19 protocols to prevent a third wave of coronavirus.
"It is true that tourism and business have been greatly affected due to Corona. But today I will say with great emphasis that it is not right to have huge crowds in hill stations, markets without masks," Modi said. "We all need to work together to stop the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic," he said.
Last week, Manali dominated social media for all the wrong reasons. People shared pictures of heavily crowded streets in the city as tourists were seen blatantly ignoring social distancing norms. Similar crowds were also seen in Shimla, Kufri, Narkanda, Dalhousie, and Lahaul. Notably, the Himachal Pradesh government no longer requires visitors to carry a negative RT-PCR report or e-COVID pass to enter the state.
Emphasizing the need to keep an eye on every variant of the coronavirus, he said experts are constantly studying how troubling the virus could be after mutations, but prevention and treatment are very important. "We've to move forward by improving the infrastructure related to testing and treatment. Recently, the cabinet has also approved a new package of Rs. 23,000 crore," Modi said.
Every state in the North-East can take help from package to strengthen its health infrastructure, he added. The PM said the COVID-19 situation was worrisome in some districts of North-East and urged the chief ministers to stay alert and act fast. The PM said stricter steps were needed at the micro-level to check the virus spread and called for greater emphasis on micro-containment zones.
"We need to continue accelerating our vaccination drive," he added. "While most parts of the country have seen a steady decline in the COVID-19 numbers, the northeast region has been a cause of concern with the number of cases either rising or not falling in line with the nationwide trend," experts have noted.