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Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray urges PM Modi to direct leaders to refrain from politics during COVID-19 crisis

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, April 7, held a crucial meet with chief ministers and representatives of all states and UTs amid fears over second wave of COVID-19. In the meeting, he said that a "challenging situation" is emerging.

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray urges PM Modi to direct leaders to refrain from politics during COVID-19 crisis
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, April 7, held a crucial meet with chief ministers and representatives of all states and union territories (UTs) amid fears over the second wave of COVID-19. In the meeting, he said that a "challenging situation" is emerging in the country again and requested people to follow all necessary coronavirus precautions to break the chain of the infection.

"I appeal to you all to stress on COVID-19 testing. Our target is to do 70 per cent RT-PCR tests. Let the number of positive cases come high, but do maximum testing. Proper sample collection is very important, it can be checked through proper governance," PM Modi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Meanwhile, clarifying its stand on the efforts being taken by the Maharashtra government in the state, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray told Prime Minister Narendra Modi that it was not lagging behind in the fight against COVID- 19, and urged him to affirm that there should be no politics in this effort.

His statement comes a day after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan made a stinging attack on the Maharashtra government, saying that it had "singularly bogged down" the entire country's effort to fight the virus.

He said Maharashtra has increased the number of daily tests and requested additional vaccine doses. He also sought PM's help in procuring oxygen and ventilators from other states.

Thackeray urged Modi to approve the proposal of the Haffkine Institute to manufacture the anti-coronavirus vaccine.

During the meeting, the union health secretary expressed satisfaction that out of the total tests conducted, 71 per cent were RT-PCR tests and 28 per cent rapid antigen tests, and requested the numbers to be increased, the statement said.

Thackeray said the state had succeeded in keeping the virus in check, but the gram panchayat elections along with the wedding events resulted in the spread of the virus. He added that the state government aims to complete vaccination of 1.77 crore population in the priority list, for which 40 lakh vaccine doses are required per week.

The state has so far received 1,06,23,500 doses, out of which 92 lakh to 95 lakh have been administered. However, the stocks have dried up and many vaccine centres have been shut.

He said that the Centre has assured supply of 17.43 lakh doses after April 15, but then there would be interruption in the vaccine drive. The CM further reiterated the demand for lowering the vaccination age limit to 25 years. Thackeray also sought the supply of anti-viral drug remdesivir, oxygen and ventilators.

Amid claims of vaccine shortage by several states, Prime Minister Modi said that India cannot get results by using all vaccine for just one state and asked the chief ministers whether the country can run a 'Tika Utsav' (vaccination festival) from April 11 to April 14.

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