Modi asks States to brainstorm phase-wise normalcy plan; but testing, tracing, isolation, quarantine should remain focus areas
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday asked the States to prepare a common exit strategy for phase-wise return of normalcy after the lockdown period suggesting that “testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine” should remain “focus areas in next few weeks”.
In a video interaction with Chief Ministers to discuss ways to contain Covid-19, Modi asked States not to abruptly end lockdown from April 15, but to do it in a phase-wise manner as per the situation in respective States. He also asked CMs to reach out to community leaders and social welfare organisations, adopt community-approach. He asked the States to brainstorm and send suggestions for the exit strategy.
The Prime Minister said considering that this is 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.
The Prime Minister thanked the States for supporting the decision of lockdown due to which India has achieved some success in limiting the spread of COVID-19. He praised all the States saying they worked together as a team to check the spread of the virus. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee skipped the event and was represented by the State Chief Secretary.
“Samuhikta hamari shakti hai”, the PM told Chief Ministers saying along with the front-line health workers, paramedical staff, NCC, NSS, NGOs and public spirited people should make a force together to win the battle against coronavirus which he hinted is not going to end soon.
He forewarned that the global situation remained far from satisfactory and informed about speculation of a possible second wave of spread of the virus in some countries. Modi sought all States to maintain “peace and harmony” in their respective areas and appealed to all men of “faith and religion” to be together and follow the norm of “social distancing” to shut the virus out.
“Priority should be to break the chain of transmission”, Modi told the CMs.
The Prime Minister said in the next few weeks, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should remain focus areas. He highlighted the necessity of maintaining the supply of essential medical products, availability of raw material for the manufacture of medicines and medical equipment.
This was for the second time the Prime Minister held a video conference with the Chief Ministers after the spread of coronavirus, and the first after the 21-day lockdown came into force. On March 20 also he had interacted with the CMs. The lockdown was enforced on March 24.
The Chief Ministers said they have enhanced surveillance, stepped up contact tracing, set up dedicated Covid19 hospitals, ICUs, relief and food camps for migrant workers and provided psychological support system to those affected by the virus.
The Chief Ministers also mentioned their efforts of identifying and quarantining suspect cases arising from Nizamuddin Markaz and containing community transmission.
The Prime Minister outlined that the common goal for the country is to ensure minimum loss of life.
Highlighting the necessity of maintaining supply of essential medical products, availability of raw material for manufacture of medicines and medical equipment, Modi said it is necessary to ensure availability of separate, dedicated hospital facilities for COVID-19 patients.
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 district level and appointment of District Surveillance Officers.
The Prime Minister said data must be taken from the accredited labs for testing —this will ensure congruence in data of district, State and Centre. He said it is necessary to ensure staggered release of funds to the beneficiaries under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana to avoid crowding at banks.
He asked States to think of other platforms for procuring grains 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.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah who was present along with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh talked about the need to implement lockdown more strictly in some States and the importance of effective district level implementation of the guidelines issued by the Centre.
The Union Health Secretary 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.
The Defence Minister, the Health Minister, the Principal Secretary, the Cabinet Secretary, the Home Secretary and the DG ICMR also participated in the interaction. Along with the Chief Ministers, the Health Minister, the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary and the Health Secretary of the respective States also attended the video conference.
Friday, 03 April 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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