The government is expected to extend the nationwide lockdown further by two weeks to continue its fight against coronavirus. While the central government would finalise contours, the states would also be roped in to work out on a staggered exit. A relaxation strategy may also be strategised for agriculture and industries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to soon make an announcement in this regard.
Narendra Modi held a meeting on Saturday with chief ministers of various states via video conferencing to discuss the future course in the fight against coronavirus pandemic. Most of the chief ministers voted in favour of a nationwide extension of the lockdown.
PM Modi also said that the combined efforts of the centre and states have definitely helped reduce the impact of COVID-19. However, situation was rapidly evolving, constant vigilance was paramount, the prime minister added. Prime Minister categorically assured that India has adequate supplies of essential medicines. He also added that measures were being taken to ensure availability of protective gear and critical equipment for all front-line workers.
The PM emphasised the criticality of coming 3-4 weeks for determining the impact of the steps taken till now to contain the virus.
"Jaan hai toh jahaan hai," said PM Modi in the video conference with chief ministers. He said that in his first message of lockdown, he had said that he would put the interest and welfare of Indians before everything else. He said that in this end, lockdown and social distancing is of utmost importance.
Prime Minister also spoke about popularising the Aarogya Setu app to ensure downloads in greater numbers. He referred to how South Korea and Singapore got success in contact tracing. Based on those experiences, India has made its own effort through the app which will be an essential tool in India's fight against the pandemic, he said.
Talking about the economic challenges, Prime Minister said that the crisis is an opportunity to become self-reliant and turn the nation into an economic powerhouse.
He also gave a stern message against black marketing and hoarding. Condemning and expressing distress at the instances of attacks on the doctors and medical staff, and at incidents of misbehavior with students from North-East and Kashmir, prime minister underlined that such cases need to be dealt with firmly.
The prime minister has already interacted with the chief ministers via video conference on April 2. Modi also interacted with the opposition leaders on the same issue recently. On Friday, the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister took note of the current situation with the Empowered Groups at a high-level meeting. Punjab and Odisha have already extended the lockdown to April 30. The state governments have now announced containment zones that will further restrict the movement of the residents.
The government recently released the Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness package to the states to fight the pandemic. The package is 100 per cent centrally funded. The project will be implemented in three phases, Phase 1 January 202 to June 2020, Phase 2 July 2020 to March 2021 and Phase 3 April 2021 to March 2024. The government would focus on support for the development of COVID hospitals, isolation blocks and ICUs with ventilators, procurement of PPEs, N95 masks and ventilators.
INDIA CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: BusinessToday.In brings you a daily tracker as coronavirus cases continue to spread. Here is the state-wise data on total cases, fatalities and recoveries in one comprehensive graphic