Centre may go for staggered exit from lockdown

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 02, 2020 Published on April 02, 2020

PM Narendra Modi (File photo)   -  PTI/@narendramodi

Modi seeks formulation of common exit strategy in meeting with Chief Ministers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a meeting held with Chief Ministers via video-conferencing on Thursday, indicated that the lockdown may be lifted in a staggered manner.

The 21-day lockdown has been in place since the intervening night of March 24-25.

An official statement said Modi called for the formulation of a common exit strategy to ensure a staggered re-emergence of the population once the lockdown ends. He also reiterated the importance of social distancing to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

He further said it is imperative to work on a war footing, identifying hotspots of the virus, encircling them and ensuring that the virus does not spread. It is also pertinent to maintain peace and law and order across the country, he added.

Reaching out

Modi said the pandemic has shaken people’s faith and belief, and appealed to the CMs to reach out to community leaders and social welfare organisations at the State, district, town and block levels to build a united front in the battle against the pandemic.

In the meeting that lasted over four hours, the CMs spoke about their efforts to maintain social distancing, track, identify and quarantine suspect cases arising from the Nizamuddin Markaz event, contain community transmission, boost medical infrastructure, strengthen the medical workforce, provide telemedicine and mental health counselling, distribute food and other essentials to those in need and take care of migrant workers. They also discussed the importance of mobilising resources — financial as well as medical — to mitigate the crisis.

Areas of focus

Earlier, in his opening remarks, Modi said 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 added. He highlighted the necessity of maintaining the supply of essential medical products and availability of raw material for the manufacture of medicines and medical equipment.

It is necessary to ensure the availability of separate, dedicated hospital facilities for Covid-19 patients, he pointed out. To increase the availability of doctors, he asked the States to tap into the resource pool of AYUSH doctors, organise online training and utilise para-medical staff as well as NCC and NSS volunteers.

Underscoring the importance of coordinated action and the need to avoid overlaps in the efforts of stakeholders, Modi discussed setting up crisis management groups at the district level and the appointment of district surveillance officers. Data must be taken from accredited labs for testing; this will ensure congruence of data at the district, State and Central levels, he added.

Highlighting the importance of harvesting, the PM asked the States to look at other platforms for procuring grains apart from APMCs, and explore the possibility of creating pooling platforms for rural areas — like those of ride sharing apps — which can be used for this purpose.

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Published on April 02, 2020
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