Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that the states of West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Telangana have a high coronavirus test positivity rate, and have not carried out enough tests. He said these states need to increase testing. Chief ministers of 10 states attended a video conference meeting with Modi to discuss the coronavirus crisis.

Modi also said that according to experts, the spread of the coronavirus can be controlled if the patient is diagnosed within 72 hours. “So, it is important that all the people who come in contact with an infected person must be tested within 72 hours,” he said.

The prime minister added that it was clear that India had been taking the right steps, as the average fatality rate had been going down and the recovery rate increasing. India’s fatality rate fell below 2% on Tuesday.

“Every state is fighting the battle against the challenging situation arising due to Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. “Role of each and every state is very significant in overall control of the spread of the disease.”

The prime minister said that India’s experience showed the pandemic can be controlled through containment, contact tracing and surveillance, according to a tweet by the Prime Minister’s Office. He said people have understood this and are cooperating with the effort.

Remove cap on SDRF funds, say chief ministers

Chief ministers on Tuesday asked Modi to remove the limit on spending from the State Disaster Relief Fund to meet the expenses necessary to combat the pandemic, the Hindustan Times reported.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the current cap of 35% as per Union home ministry guidelines does not allow effective spending to combat the coronavirus. On Monday, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had made a similar request to Modi during a meeting on the flood situation.

Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami asked Modi for an ad-hoc grant, as the state had used up funds from the relief fund. “As we have already fully exhausted State Disaster Response & Mitigation fund, I also request an ad-hoc grant of Rs 1,000 crore from NDRF [National Disaster Relief Fund] immediately to fight the pandemic,” he said.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar were some of the other chief ministers who attended the meeting. Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was also present.

Modi has held several such meetings over the past five months, since a complete lockdown was imposed on March 25.