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New Delhi, April 2, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the States and the Centre should formulate a common strategy to ensure a staggered re-emergence of the population once the lockdown came to an end.
Interacting with Chief Ministers of states via video-conferencing on the COVID-19 situation, Modi asked them to brainstorm and send suggestions for the exit strategy. He reiterated the importance of social distancing in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
The Prime Minister praised the manner in which all the States worked together as a team to check the spread of the virus. He, however, cautioned that the global situation remained far from satisfactory and there were speculations of a possible second wave of the spread of the virus in some countries.
The common goal for the country was to ensure minimum loss of life. In the next few weeks, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should remain the areas of focus. He highlighted the necessity of maintaining the supply of essential medical products, availability of raw material for the manufacture of medicines and medical equipment.
He said it was necessary to ensure the availability of separate, dedicated hospital facilities for COVID-19 patients. To increase the availability of doctors, he asked the States to tap into the resource pool of AYUSH doctors, organize online training and utilize para-medical staff, NCC and NSS volunteers.
Underscoring the importance of coordinated action and the need to avoid overlaps in efforts of stakeholders, the Prime Minister talked about the need of setting up Crisis Management Groups at the district level and appointment of District Surveillance Officers.
He said data must be taken from the accredited labs for testing -- this will ensure congruence in data of district, state and centre.
Modi said it was necessary to ensure staggered release of funds to the beneficiaries under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana to avoid crowding at the banks.
Considering that this was the time to harvest crops, the government has given some relaxation from lockdown but it is necessary to continuously monitor and maintain social distancing as much as possible. He asked the states to think of other platforms for procuring grain apart from APMC and explore the possibility of creating pooling platforms for rural areas, like that in ride-sharing apps, which can be used for this purpose.
An official press release said the Chief Ministers thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership, continuous guidance and support in this time of crisis. They appreciated his action in taking the bold and timely decision of lockdown which has helped check the spread of the virus in the country.
They mentioned their efforts of maintaining social distancing, tracking suspect cases, identifying and quarantining suspect cases arising from Nizamuddin Markaz, containing community transmission, boosting of medical infrastructure, strengthening medical workforce, provision of telemedicine, provision of mental health counselling, distribution of food and other essentials to those in need and taking care of migrant workers.
The Chief Ministers also spoke about the importance of mobilising resources, financial as well as medical, to mitigate the crisis.
The Prime Minister said it was imperative to work on a war footing, identify hotspots of the virus, encircle them and ensure that the virus did not spread. It was necessary to take steps to maintain peace and law & order across the country.
“COVID-19 has attacked our faith and belief and is threatening our way of life,” he said. He appealed to the Chief Ministers to reach out to community leaders and social welfare organizations at the state, district, town and block levels to build up a united front based on community-approach in the battle against the pandemic.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah talked about the need to implement the lockdown more strictly in some states and the importance of effective district-level implementation of the guidelines issued by the Centre.
Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan apprised the dignitaries of the rise in number of cases in India, spread of cases from Nizamuddin Markaz, preparations to tackle medical cases arising out of further spread of the virus and need to break transmission chain in the districts with high number of confirmed cases.
Union Defence Minister, Health Minister, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary and DG ICMR also participated in the interaction. Along with the Chief Ministers, the Home Ministers, Health Ministers, Chief Secretaries, Home Secretaries and Health Secretaries of the states also attended the video conference.