“We have over 700 districts in the country but the figures show that the maximum cases are only in 60 districts in seven states. If you focus on these 60 districts and make a week-long plan to give one hour daily for direct dialogue with one-two blocks/tehsils, it could bring seriousness and sincerity at the ground level to combat coronavirus” the PM told Chief Ministers of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Modi said it was also time to move ahead on the economic front in the country.
The PM said it was correct that the number of infections was increasing constantly but said India was also doing over 10 lakh tests daily and recoveries were also high.
“The earlier lockdown was very beneficial and the world praised it but now we must focus on micro containment zones only so that corona transmission is stopped and normal activity can also go on. Every state should analyse how effective the one-two day local lockdowns are against coronavirus. Is it so that the economic activities in your state are facing difficulties due to this? All states should seriously consider this,” the PM said.
Modi also announced that a key demand of the states has been accepted to allow them to use 50% of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to combat coronavirus against 35% earlier, to make available more funds to the states.
He said besides testing, tracing and treatment, effective messaging was also important now as most of those infected were asymptomatic and may be underestimating the infection.
“Wearing a mask is crucial. Uddhav Thackeray has suggested how this should be similar to one wearing spectacles,” Modi said, asking CMs to strengthen COVID-19 awareness by involving the civil society.
Many states like Punjab raised the issue of supply of medical oxygen to their states, to which Modi said he had been told that there was no shortage of medical oxygen in the country.
“There is a need for co-ordination among states so that transport of medical oxygen from one state to another can be maintained and rumours are kept at bay as black-marketers can benefit for the same. In the same way, we have to ensure the inter-state movement of medicines,” the PM said.
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh cited experts who suggested possible aggravation of Covid conditions due to stubble burning and asked the PM for financial aid to farmers for defraying the cost of management of paddy straw.