Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked district officials to collect data on the coronavirus strains affecting children. He also called the Covid-19 vaccine wastage to be a major problem in the country and asked district officials to make sure that this was curbed.

“Amid the second wave of the pandemic, due to mutations of the coronavirus, concerns are being raised on the impact on youth and children,” Modi said during a virtual interaction with district authorities. “We have to be prepared for the future. The first thing to do is to look at the nature of the infections at the district-level and collate data. Do a separate analysis and assessments of this data that will help in preparing for the future.”

Modi said that the pandemic had taught the authorities that the practices needed constant change, innovation and upgradation. “This virus is expert in mutating and thus, our strategies should be dynamic in fighting it,” he said.

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The prime minister said that his administration was collecting suggestions from states for vaccinations against Covid-19. “Keeping this in view, the health ministry is providing the next 15-day vaccine dosage information to states,” he added. “Testing and distancing must be focused upon and it is the administration’s responsibility to ensure this. COVID appropriate behaviour shouldn’t be dropped.”

Modi said that India’s active Covid-19 cases have started to decrease. But, he added that the pandemic will go on “even if the spread continues very minimally”, if the last one-and-a-half years were considered. “We must spread this message to rural India – that everyone needs to keep their village Covid-free,” Modi added.

Wastage of Covid-19 vaccines is a major problem, the prime minister said, adding that it must be stopped at all costs. “A single wastage means not providing security to an individual,” he said. “Work out on your strategy on rural-urban specific way.”

India, which has been reeling under the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, has had a difficult time tackling the rise in infections. The country’s healthcare infrastructure took a beating amid an unprecedented surge in new cases, with depleting resources, including medical oxygen and drugs.

The current rise in infections has also been reported to affect the younger population more, an occurrence not recorded in the first wave of Covid-19 cases.

The collapse in the healthcare systems, amid the second wave, first began in the national Capital Delhi and a few more states also reported a lack of medical facilities, including oxygen and certain drugs used to treat Covid-19 patients.

The country on Thursday recorded 2,76,110 new coronavirus cases, taking the total count of infections to 2,57,72,440 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country’s toll rose to 2,87,122 as it registered 3,874 deaths in the last day.