Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday asked states to assess the efficacy of short and local lockdowns in combating the coronavirus pandemic.
While interacting with the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Delhi, Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh via video conferencing to review status and response to COVID-19, Modi put forward the strategy of having “micro containment zones” as it would curb the infection spread and also allow activities to go on.
“The nationwide lockdown in the initial phases yielded very positive results and our focus now should be on micro-containment zones,” he said.
“Every state should observe how effective the one-two day local lockdowns are in curbing coronavirus. Is it because of this that there are problems in starting economic activities in your state? I urge all states to think seriously about this,” Modi added.
In order to curb the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister stressed on the need to increase focus on effective testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging.
He noted that effective messaging is necessary due to the asymptomatic nature of the infection which may lead to doubts about the efficacy of tests.
He also laid emphasis on developing the habit of using masks on a daily basis.
Noting that while the number of cases is increasing, the Prime Minister said that the country is also conducting more than 10 lakh tests daily, and the number of patients recovering is fast increasing.
Modi also announced that the limit of using the State Disaster Response Fund for COVID specific infrastructure has been increased from 35 per cent to 50 per cent.
“We have taken an important decision regarding the use of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for Corona Specific Infrastructure. Many states had requested for this. With the decisions, the states will get more money for fighting with the covid-19 pandemic,” said Modi.
Apart from underlining the importance of ensuring smooth movement of goods and services between States, Modi also spoke about the difficulties faced by some States recently in procuring oxygen supply.
He also noted the necessity of facilitating movement to ensure availability of medicines across States.
“Every necessary step has to be taken to ensure uninterrupted supply of life-saving oxygen. India has ensured the supply of life-saving medicines in the world even in difficult times. In such a situation, we have to see that medicines easily reach from one state to another,” Modi added.