New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid the frightening videos emerging from Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that 'it is a matter of concern to see big crowds without masks and social distancing in hill stations'. 

The PM's remarks came during his interaction with chief ministers of eight North-Eastern states through video conferencing. The virtual meeting was attended by chief ministers of Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, also by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, among others.

The prime minister, during the discussions, also said the vaccination drive needs to be continuously ramped up to combat the third wave of the pandemic. He also urged people not to compromise on COVID 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. We all need to work together to stop the third wave of COVID-19 pandemic," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

"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 COVID19 appropriate behaviour", he added. 

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 in such a dynamic situation, prevention and treatment are very important.

"We have to move forward by improving the infrastructure related to testing and treatment. For this, recently the cabinet has also approved a new package of Rs 23,000 crore. Every state in the North East can take help from this package to strengthen its health infrastructure," Modi said.

The prime minister said the COVID-19 situation was worrisome in some districts of North-East and urged the chief ministers to stay alert and act fast to check the further spread of the virus. 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.

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan