The Centre on Monday urged five poll-bound states to increase the pace of vaccinations. The recommendation was made after a meeting conducted by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to review public health response measures currently in place to contain and manage coronavirus in all poll-bound states.

Uttarakhand, Goa, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab will have their Assembly elections in February or March 2022.

The health ministry has called for inoculation of all eligible persons with the first dose and to track citizens whose second shot has been pending.

The ministry recommended making a district-wise plan to vaccinate the maximum number of people on priority. The state government has been directed to review the implementation of the plan every day.

“While Uttarakhand and Goa have reported vaccination coverage for the first and second doses higher than the national average, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur have Covid-19 vaccination coverage numbers below the national average,” the health ministry said in a statement.

So far, 142.47 crore doses of coronavirus vaccines have been administered to Indians, of which 72 lakh doses were given in the last 24 hours.

The election-bound states have also been advised to increase testing so that Covid-positive patients are promptly treated, and “to ensure there is no sudden upsurge in numbers” because of less detection.

The health ministry has asked the state governments to see that Covid-appropriate behaviour is strictly followed in public spaces.

India reported 6,358 new cases of coronavirus and 293 deaths over the last 24 hours. As many as 6,450 patients recovered from the infection. Currently, there are 75,456 active cases.