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COVID-19: In video conference with CMs, PM Modi stresses on need for common exit strategy to lift lockdown

“The states and centre must formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of population once lockdown ends,” a government statement quoted Modi telling the chief ministers in the video conference.

Written by Krishn Kaushik | New Delhi |
Updated: April 2, 2020 4:52:56 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that “it is imperative to work on war footing, (File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday said that the global COVID-19 situation is not yet satisfactory, and hinted at the speculations of a second wave. In a video interaction with the chief ministers of states, he also emphasised on the need of common but staggered exit strategy to lift the lockdown across the country.

“The states and centre must formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of population once lockdown ends,” a government statement quoted Modi telling the chief ministers in the video conference, and he asked the states “to brainstorm and send suggestions for the exit strategy”. Follow Coronavirus LIVE Updates

The prime minister “forewarned that the global situation remains far from satisfactory and informed about speculations of a possible second wave of spread of the virus in some countries,” even as he thanked the states for supporting the lockdown and appreciated the steps taken by them to check the spread of the coronavirus.

The states also informed the prime minister regarding the importance of “mobilising resources, financial as well as medical, to mitigate the crisis”, the statement mentioned.

Emphasising that the “common goal for the country is to ensure minimum loss of life”, Modi told the states that in the “next few weeks, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should remain the areas of focus” and also brought up the “necessity of maintaining supply of essential medical products, availability of raw material for manufacture of medicines and medical equipment”. He also told the chief ministers about the need of making sure separate dedicated hospital facilities are available for COVID-19 patients.

A priest wears a protective mask inside a temple.

Modi said that “it is imperative to work on war footing, identify hotspots of the virus, encircle them and ensure that the virus does-not spread out” and stressed on the need for maintaining law and order. “COVID-19 has attacked our faith and belief and is threatening our way of life,” he said and appealed to the states “to reach out to community leaders and social welfare organisations at state, district, town and block levels to build up a united front based on community-approach in the battle against the pandemic”.

As this is also the harvest time for crops across the country, Modi said, “The government has given some relaxation from lockdown but it is necessary to continuously monitor and maintain social distancing as much as possible” and asked the 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.”

On the significance of “coordinated action and the need to avoid overlaps in efforts of stakeholders”, Modi said that the crisis management groups should be set up at district level and district surveillance officers must be appointed. “Data must be taken from the accredited labs for testing,” he said and added that it will “ensure congruence in data of district, state and centre”.

Read | Rainwear instead of PPEs? Bengal govt rushes to make protective gear

He also mentioned the necessity of ensuring “staggered release of funds to the beneficiaries under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana to avoid crowding at banks”.

Suggesting that states can use the resources of AYUSH doctors, he said that online training should be organised to utilise the paramedical personnel of NCC and NSS volunteers.

Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu said that Modi had stated in the meeting that the “war has just began now” and stressed that “we can never be contended, let us make no mistake”. Tweeting about the meeting Khandu quoted the prime minister telling the chief ministers that “every 24 hours we must be alert; unitedly we must fight to defeat the outbreak of COVID-19”.

“This is a fight which must be fought by each of us. This is a war which cannot be left alone to health workers, policemen or the government. Time is now for all different ideologies to unite to defeat the enemy of mankind,” Modi was quoted by Khandu as saying. Khandu also mentioned that the prime minister also spoke about leveraging technology to fight the battle and asked the states to “not compete to announce packages”.

“It is for all of us to be realistic and practical. The fight could go for any length and we can’t predict how things will turn. May not21 days of lockdown India go waste. Even after lockdown, follow corona prevention safety measures like wearing mask, cleanliness, distancing etc. Being responsible will save us,” Khandu quoted Modi saying.

Drones are being used to disinfect places in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area.

According to the government statement about the meeting, the chief ministers apprised Modi about the steps taken in their respective states to maintain social distancing, tracking suspect cases, identifying and quarantining suspect cases arising from Nizamuddin Markaz, containing community transmission, boosting up of medical infrastructure, strengthening medical workforce, provision of tele-medicine, mental health counselling, distribution of food and other essentials to those in need and taking care of migrant workers.

During the video conference, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan spoke about implementing the lockdown more strictly in some states. The chief ministers were also informed about the rise in number of cases in India, especially the spread of cases from Nizamuddin Markaz.

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