PM asks CMs to convince religious heads to maintain social distance

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked all chief ministers to speak to religious heads from their respective states and ask them to convince their community members about the need to maintain social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

Interacting with all states Chief Ministers over video conference here today, Prime Minister 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 the supply of essential medical products, availability of raw material for the manufacture of medicines and medical equipment.

He said it is necessary to ensure the 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 for setting up Crisis Management Groups at the 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 the 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.

Telangana Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership, continuous guidance and support in this time of crisis. He 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.

The Chief Ministers updated the PM on 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 the medical workforce, provision of telemedicine, 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 while thanking the Chief Ministers for their suggestions and also for apprising about the situation on the ground, stressed to need to work on a 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 the state, district, town and block levels to build up a united front based on community-approach in the battle against the pandemic.

PM also 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 the number of cases in India, the spread of cases from Nizamuddin Markaz, preparations to tackle medical cases arising out of the further spread of the virus and need to break transmission chain in the districts with a 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.