Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a meeting this morning to review the measures taken amid the surge in COVID-19 cases that has overwhelmed the country and its healthcare system.
The Prime Minister will review the allocation of human resources as well as the availability of oxygen and medicines, sources said head of the meeting that was attended by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, the Health Secretary and other officials.
The meeting comes amid reports of healthcare personnel feeling overwhelmed in some parts of the country due to the surge in the COVID-19 cases, with testing facilities also strained.
On Saturday, a doctor was among 12 people who died at Delhi’s Batra Hospital after the facility ran out of medical oxygen – for the second time in the space of a week. Separately, a resident doctor at a private hospital in the capital died by suicide due to severe stress.
The second COVID-19 wave in India has overwhelmed hospitals, morgues and crematoriums and left families scrambling for scarce medicines and oxygen. And while India is the world’s biggest producer of COVID-19 vaccines, shortages of the shots in some states have hindered the start of a mass vaccination drive.
Ahead of the surge in cases, leaders of all political parties, including PM Modi, led political rallies at which large crowds flouted rules on social distancing and mask-wearing.
Some experts blame the rallies and mass religious gatherings attended by millions for the severity of the second wave.
PM Modi has been criticised for focusing on the state elections instead of making the pandemic his top priority.
The central government has meanwhile been accused of failing to respond to a warning in early March from its own scientific advisers that a new and more contagious variant was taking hold in the country.