Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday told chief ministers that India has to stop the second wave of coronavirus by taking quick and decisive actions. Modi made the remarks at a meeting with the political leaders via video conference amid rising coronavirus cases in India and the Centre’s attempt to widen the vaccination drive.

“We will have to immediately stop the emerging second wave of corona[virus] and for this, we will have to take quick and decisive steps,” Modi said.

The prime minister said 70 districts of the country have seen an increase of more than 150% in new cases during the last few weeks. “We are seeing Covid-19 cases even in areas which were considered safe zones,” he added. “If we don’t stop this pandemic right now, then there could be a nationwide outbreak...We do not have to create panic among people but need to take some initiatives to help people.”

The prime minister told the chief ministers that the fight against the pandemic is also a test of “good governance”.

Modi stressed that it was necessary to become “pro-active” now by taking steps like enforcement of restrictions and demarcation of micro-containment zones wherever necessary. “The self-confidence that we gained in our corona fight should not turn into overconfidence,” he warned. “Our success should not be the reason for carelessness.”

Modi asked the states to take the “test, track and treat” strategy as seriously as they did last year. He also directed them to focus more on RT-PCR (Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests.

The prime minister said that some states were just relying on rapid antigen testing for coronavirus. “Contacts of every infected person has to be tracked as soon as possible and RT-PCR test rate has to be kept higher than 70%,” Modi said.

Modi added that vaccines were an effective weapon in the fight against the coronavirus crisis and the speed of inoculation in India was continuously increasing. “We have also crossed the figure of vaccinating 3 million [30 lakh] people in a single day,” the prime minister said.

However, he directed states to pay urgent attention to the problem of wastage of doses.

The prime minister said that the way the people of India fought the coronavirus served as an example for others. “Today, more than 96% of the cases in the country have recovered,” he said. “India is also among the countries with the lowest mortality rate.”

His remarks came as India’s daily coronavirus infections jumped by 28,903 on Wednesday. This was the highest rise since December 13 and took the country’s tally to 1,14,38,734. Deaths jumped by 188, the highest figure in two months, to 1,59,044.

India has the world’s highest tally of infections after the United States and Brazil. Tuesday was the sixth straight day when India recorded more than 20,000 infections, even as restrictions to rein in the pandemic expanded in parts of the country.