Prime Minister Narendra Modi today interacted with Chief Ministers of states via video conferencing to discuss measures to combat COVID-19.
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 how all the States have worked together as a team to check the spread of the virus. He however 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.
The PM outlined that the common goal for the country is 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 supply of essential medical products, availability of raw material for manufacture of medicines and medical equipment. He said it is necessary to ensure 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, Prime Minister talked about the need of setting up Crisis Management Groups at district level and appointment of District Surveillance Officers. He said that 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.
Prime Minister said that 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. He 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 Minister thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership, continuous guidance and support in this time of crisis. They appreciated the Prime Minister for 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 up of 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.
Prime Minister thanked the Chief Ministers for their suggestions and also for apprising about the situation on the ground. He said it is imperative to work on war footing, identify hotspots of the virus, encircle them and ensure that the virus does-not spread out. He said that it is pertinent to maintain peace and law & order across the country. He added that COVID-19 has attacked our faith and belief and is threatening our way of life. He appealed to the leaders to reach out to community leaders and social welfare organizations at state, district, town and block levels to build up a united front based on community-approach in the battle against the pandemic.
Prime Minister said that it is important to formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population once Lockdown ends. He asked the States to brainstorm and send suggestions for the exit strategy. He reiterated the importance of social distancing in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
Union Home Minister 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.
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.
Union Defence Minister, Health Minister, Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary, Home Secretary and DG ICMR also participated in the interaction. Along with the Chief Ministers, the Home Minister, Health Minister, Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Health Secretary of the respective states also attended the video conference.