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21-day lockdown exit to be staggered

Modi seeks ideas from CMs so as to formulate a uniform relaxation plan; curbs on mass gatherings could continue.

Published: 03rd April 2020 07:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2020 07:55 AM   |  A+A-

A migrant walks past police barricades placed near Ghazipur during a nationwide lockdown

A migrant walks past police barricades placed near Ghazipur during a nationwide lockdown. (Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: With coronavirus cases rising exponentially across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday made it clear that the return of full normalcy will have to wait even while states rushed to trace the Tablighi Jamaat carriers of the virus.

Modi underscored the importance of working out a common exit strategy for the staggered re-emergence of the population after the 21-day lockdown, so that the benefits of the current exercise at social distancing are not frittered away.

He urged all states to share ideas for the uniform relaxation of curbs. Sources said it could include a temporary bar on mass gathering, restrictions on religious places and the gradual opening of offices and other work spaces. Modi said that the global situation is far from satisfactory, adding there is speculation of a possible second wave of the virus in some countries. 

The lockdown is scheduled to end on April 14. Union ministers Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh attended the video conference with the chief ministers. The presence of the two heavyweight ministers underlined the gravity of the situation, as carelessness at the Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in Delhi has made it the epicentre of the virus, with its activists accounting for almost one-fifth of positive cases in India. 

For their part, the chief ministers briefed the prime minister on the actions taken to track down the Tablighi activists and their contacts, besides earmarking dedicated infrastructure for treatment of the Covid-19 patients.  

"The Covid-19 has attacked our faith and belief. It’s threatening our way of life. Each one of us should reach out to community leaders and social welfare organizations at state, district, town and block levels to build a united front based on community approach in the battle against the pandemic," Modi said.

With cases spiking in the last few days, Modi is learnt to have urged the chief ministers to expeditiously put in place a dedicated infrastructure for treatment of coronavirus patients, seamless movement of raw materials for manufacture of necessary medical equipment, speedy training of healthcare personnel, and tapping the resources of alternative healthcare set ups, including Ayush. With the harvest season knocking at the doors, Modi said the process of harvesting and procurement of foodgrains should be unhampered while staying within the healthcare parameters. 

PM’s message today

Modi will share a video message on Friday in which he may list out more steps to fight the spread of the virus. "At 9 AM tomorrow morning, I’ll share a small video message with my fellow Indians," he tweeted

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