New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed concern over the alarming spike in COVID-19 cases in some states and called for "quick and decisive steps". In a video-conference meeting with the chief ministers, PM Modi called for the need to stop the "emerging second peak of coronavirus immediately".

"If we don't stop this pandemic right now, then there could be a nationwide outbreak. We have to immediately stop the emerging second peak and take big and decisive steps," PM Modi told the Chief Ministers. 

The meeting between PM Modi and chief ministers was held to assess the COVID-19 situation and the ongoing vaccination drive as the Centre looks to ramp up the inoculation exercise amid a rise in infection in some states. 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is aggressively campaigning in the state ahead of the assembly polls, did not attend the virtual meeting, along with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. 

PM Modi's last interaction with chief ministers was in January before the vaccination roll-out. He had announced that the Centre will bear the expenses of vaccinating nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first round and suggested that public representatives, a reference to politicians, should not be part of this initial exercise.

The drive has now moved on to next round to cover people over 60 years of age, and those aged above 45 years and having comorbidities.

Five states, Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, continue to report a high number of daily COVID-19 cases, and account for 71.10 per cent of the 28,903 new infections reported on Wednesday.

Maharashtra alone accounts for 61.8 per cent of the daily new cases with 17,864 cases. It is followed by Kerala with 1,970 cases while Punjab reported 1,463 new cases, the ministry said. Kerala is reporting a consistently declining trend over the last one month.

Fifteen states and UTs have not reported any COVID-19 deaths in a span of 24 hours. These are Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Daman and Diu & Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Nagaland, Tripura, Ladakh, Manipur, Mizoram, Andman and Nicobar Islands and Arunachal Pradesh.

India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7, 30 lakh on August 23, 40 lakh on September 5 and 50 lakh on September 16.It went past 60 lakh on September 28, 70 lakh on October 11, crossed 80 lakh on October 29, 90 lakh on November 20 and surpassed the one-crore mark on December 19.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta