New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting with Chief Ministers of all states to review the COVID-19 situation across the country as India continues to see a massive spike in coronavirus cases. The meeting, which was held virtually, was also attended by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya.

During the meeting, PM Modi urged the Chief Ministers not to panic and stressed that the pace of the vaccination should be increased as it is the best bet to fight the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. He also said that the "alertness of people and administration must not fall short in festive season", adding that the country needs to be ready for any future variants of COVID-19.

"Compared to previous variants Omicron is rapidly spreading... it's more transmissible... Our health experts are assessing the situation. It's clear that we have to stay alert, but also ensure to avoid panic," PM Modi said, as reported by news agency ANI.

"Rs 23,000 crores package allocated by the Centre to states has been utilised well with many states strengthening their health infrastructure. Center and states need to follow this pre-emptive, collective, and proactive approach this time too."

PM Modi has held several meetings with Chief Ministers and representatives of all states and union territories (UTs) since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. This, however, is his first meeting with the Chief Ministers this year.

PM Modi had also held a review meeting on Sunday where he had called for ensuring adequate health infrastructure at the district level and accelerating the vaccination drive for adolescents in mission mode.

During that meeting, PM Modi had stressed that vaccination remains among the most effective means to fight the pandemic. He had also said that a meeting with the Chief Ministers be convened to discuss state-specific scenarios, best practices and the public health response.

India has been witnessing a massive spike in COVID-19 cases since December last year. On Thursday, India recorded nearly 2.50 lakh fresh cases, the highest single-day spike since May last year, as the country's active COVID-19 caseload crossed the grim mark of 11 lakh.

The Centre has urged people to ensure appropriate COVID-19 norms are followed. It also has warned that infection caused by the Omicron variant of COVID-19 should not be considered common cold and people should not take it lightly.

"Omicron is replacing Delta variant of COVID-19 as it is highly transmissible. It should be considered as the common cold. Normally, the transmission or expansion of the pandemic would take longer but this time it has been very rapid because of the high transmissibility," said NITI Aayog member Dr VK Paul during press briefing on Wednesday.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma