To take stock of the Coronavirus situation in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held the first leg of the PM-CM meeting with the chief ministers of the eight worst-hit states, on Tuesday.

Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Gujarat are the eight states that are plagued with rising COVID cases as India intensifies its fight against the pandemic.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal are among those are present at the meeting, being held via video conferencing. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, NITI Aayog`s Dr VK Paul, Cabinet secretary, and Health Secretary are also attending the crucial meet. According to Delhi Chief Minister`s Office (CMO), Kejriwal informed the Prime Minister that Delhi saw a peak of 8,600 COVID-19 cases on 10 November in the third peak.

In the first leg of the meeting, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal blamed the sudden spike in the national capital’s caseload on pollution. He said though the national capital saw a sudden spike of 8,600 cases on November 10, the positivity rate has been steadily decreasing since.He urged for an additional 1,000 ICU beds in central government hospitals till the third wave lasts.

A presentation was made during the meeting which said the national capital has seen an average 111 deaths in the last one week. Maharashtra’s average death was found to be 93 in the last week. Rajasthan’s positivity rate was found to be 21 per cent last week, which was very high.

During the meeting, the West Bengal chief minister claimed that the state’s performance on COVID was affected due to the international border it shares with other countries.

She also raised the issue of the GST dues that the Centre owes it.

Ahead of the meeting, Rajasthan government had hiked the fine to Rs 500 for those who were not adhering to the wearing of masks. It was mentioned during the PM-CM meeting as well, by the state.

Shah cited examples of the US and Europe to urge states to exercise caution.

He advised the eight states — in the COVID Red Zone — to stringently ensure that all wear masks while in public places and maintain physical distancing, besides a high level of hygiene.

The Union Health Secretary said that the COVID situation in four states particularly — Delhi, Kerala, Rajasthan and Maharashtra needs careful monitoring in the days to come.

(With agency inputs)

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