New Delhi, April 2 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, for the second time, interacted with Chief Ministers via video conferencing and discussed measures to combat coronavirus, saying the government’s first priority for the next few weeks should be “testing, tracing, isolating and quarantining” and for this, administrative efforst down to the district level must be coordinated.
During the interaction, the Prime Minister thanked the states for supporting the lockdown decision due to which India has achieved some success in limiting the spread of Covid-19.
He also appreciated the states for working together as a team to check the spread of the virus. He, however, warned that the global situation remains far from satisfactory and informed them about probabbility of a possible second wave of spread of the virus in some countries.
Outlining the common goal for the country to ensure minimum loss of life, Modi said, “In the next few weeks, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should remain the areas of focus.”
He highlighted the necessity of “maintaining supply of essential medical products, availability of raw material for manufacture of medicines and medical equipment” and 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.
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 is necessary to ensure staggered release of funds to the beneficiaries under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana to avoid crowding at banks. In view of the crop harvesting season, the Prime Minister 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.
The Chief Ministers also mentioned their efforts of maintaining social distancing, tracking suspect cases, identifying and quarantining the suspects from Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi, containing community transmission, boosting medical infrastructure, strengthening medical workforce, provision of tele-medicine, provision of mental health counselling, distribution of food and other essentials to those in need and taking care of migrant workers.
The States spoke about the importance of mobilising resources, financial as well as medical, to mitigate the crisis.
Modi said it is imperative to work on a war footing, identify hotspots of the virus, encircle them and ensure that the virus does not spread out.
After the video conferencing with the Prime Minister, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, took to twitter and wrote: “Completion of lockdown will end on April 15 next. But it doesn’t mean free will to move out on streets. We all must be responsible in slowing down. Lockdown and social distancing are the only way to fight #COVID19.”
Khandu was referring to what Modi said in the video conferencing. However, the Chief Minister deleted that tweet and in another tweet clarified that “the tweet with respect to the lockdown period was uploaded by an officer whose comprehension in Hindi was limited. And therefore same was removed”.
On Thursday, a total of 1,965 people have tested positive for Covid-19 in Indian while 50 people have died across the country. Out of 1,965, 150 people have recovered.