Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said there is a need to fight rumours of lockdown and plan phase 2 of Unlock even as the number of coronavirus cases rises rapidly in the country.
The Prime Minister held the second part of two-day interaction with chief ministers of various states and Union territories via video conferencing to discuss the situation post Unlock 1.0 and plan for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana and Odisha were part of the interaction.
Speaking on the occasion, Modi said the collective commitment to fight against the virus will lead us to victory, while also talking about the need to speed up economic activities with due precautions in place.
He said there is a need to fight rumours of lockdown, as the country is now in the phase of Unlocking. “We need to now think about phase 2 of Unlock and how to minimize all possibilities of harm to our people,” he said. Modi noted that with the reduction in restrictions, indicators of economic performance are showing signs of revival, according to a press release by the Prime Minister’s Office.
He asked the states to take steps to boost infrastructure and construction-related work. The Prime Minister observed that the spread of the virus is greater in certain big states and cities.
“High density of population, difficulty in maintaining physical distancing and daily movement of people in huge numbers has made the situation challenging, yet through the patience of citizens, readiness of administration and dedication of corona warriors, the spread has been kept under control. Through timely tracing, treatment and reporting, the number of those recovering is rising,” he said, adding that the discipline shown by people during lockdown has prevented the exponential growth of the coronavirus infection.
Modi also spoke about the presence of better health infrastructure and trained manpower to meet the challenge. He highlighted the increase in domestic manufacturing capabilities of PPEs, masks, availability of diagnostic kits in adequate quantity, the supply of ventilators made in India using PM CARES fund, availability of testing labs, lakhs of COVID special beds, thousands of isolation and quarantine centres, and adequate human resource through training.
He underlined the need to give constant emphasis on health infrastructure, information systems, emotional support and public participation.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of testing to quickly trace, track and isolate those affected. The existing testing capacity needs to be utilized fully, and along with constant efforts for expansion, he said.
He also underlined the emotional aspect of the battle against the virus, including battling the fear of being afflicted and the stigma attached by making people aware of the high number of those who have defeated the virus and recovered. Our priority must remain to help and support our corona warriors, doctors and health care workers. He added that Jan Bhaagidaari is essential in this fight and said that people must be constantly reminded to use masks, face cover, and maintain physical distancing.
Speaking during the virtual meeting, the chief ministers talked about health infrastructure available to meet the challenge and steps taken to strengthen it further, the support provided to frontline workers, monitoring in containment zones, campaigns to encourage usage of masks and other safety precautions, increase in testing, and providing gainful employment opportunities to the migrants who have returned.
India on Wednesday recorded the highest-ever spike of 2,003 deaths, taking the toll to 11,903, while 10,974 new coronavirus cases were registered. The total number of cases in the country has now jumped to 3,54,065 out of which, 1,86,935 patients, or 52.8%, have already recovered.