New Delhi: For the next few weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should remain the areas of focus. Prime Minister Modi, who interacted with the Chief Ministers via video conferencing to discuss measures to combat COVID-19, also thanked the States for supporting the decision of lockdown due to which India has achieved some success in limiting the spread of COVID-19. According to an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), 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 the spread of the virus in some countries. Prime Minister Modi outlined that the common goal for the country is to ensure minimum loss of life.
“For the next few weeks, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should remain the areas of focus,” he said, while highlighting 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, the Prime Minister asked the States to tap into the resource pool of AYUSH doctors, organise 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 Modi talked about the need of setting up Crisis Management Groups at the district level and appointment of District Surveillance Officers.
He said the data must be taken from the accredited labs for testing, which will ensure the congruence in data of district, state and centre. He said it is necessary to ensure the staggered release of funds to the beneficiaries under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana to avoid crowding at banks.
Prime Minister Modi 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 the 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.
According to the statement, the Chief Ministers thanked Modi for his leadership, continuous guidance and support in this time of crisis. They appreciated him for taking the bold and timely decision of the lockdown, which has helped check the spread of the virus in the country.
The Chief Ministers 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 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 Modi 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 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 and 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.
The Prime Minister said that it is important to formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population once the 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.