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New Delhi, April 11, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a video conference with Chief Ministers of all States to consider whether to continue the lockdown imposed on March 25 to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and noted that there seemed to be a consensus on extending it by another two weeks.
At the same time, he underlined that the motto of the Government earlier was "Jaan Hai to Jahaan Hai", but now it was "Jaan Bhi, Jahaan Bhi".
This was the third such interaction between Modi and the Chief Ministers to strategise on the COVID-19 crisis after the earlier ones on March 20 and April 2.
The Prime Minister said the combined effort of the Centre and the States had definitely helped reduce the impact of COVID-19 but since the situation is rapidly evolving, constant vigilance is paramount. He emphasized the criticality of the coming 3-4 weeks for determining the impact of the steps taken till now to contain the virus, adding that teamwork is the key to facing the challenge.
Modi categorically assured the States that the country had adequate supplies of essential medicines and said that measures are being taken to ensure availability of protective gear and critical equipment for all front-line workers. He also gave a stern message against black marketing and hoarding.
Condemning and expressing distress at the instances of attacks on the doctors and medical staff, and at incidents of misbehavior with students from North-East and Kashmir, Prime Minister underlined that such cases need to be dealt with firmly. He also spoke about the need to curb lockdown violations and ensure that social distancing is followed.
Modi also talked about strengthening the healthcare infrastructure and reaching out to patients through tele-medicine. He also suggested that direct marketing for farm produce can be incentivised to prevent crowding in "mandis", for which model APMC laws should be reformed swiftly. Such steps will help farmers sell products at their doorstep.
He also spoke about popularizing the Aarogya Setu app to ensure downloads in greater numbers. He referred to how South Korea and Singapore got success in contact tracing. Based on those experiences, India has made its own effort through the app which will be an essential tool in India’s fight against the pandemic, he said. He also referred to the possibility of the app being an e-pass which could subsequently facilitate travel from one place to another.
Talking about the economic challenges, the Prime Minister said that the crisis is an opportunity to become self-reliant and turn the nation into an economic powerhouse.
According to an official press release, the Chief Ministers provided feedback about the COVID-positive cases in their respective states, steps taken by then to maintain social distancing, ramp up healthcare infrastructure, mitigate difficulties of migrants and maintain the supply of essentials. They suggested that the lockdown should be extended by two weeks. They also sought financial and fiscal assistance from the Contre to boost their resources in the fight against the pandemic.
The interaction was also attended by Union Home Minister, Defence Minister, Health Minister, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Secretary and other senior officials of Government of India.