March 19 marked the first time that China recorded zero new domestic cases of COVID-19 since the country implemented strict measures to contain the spread of the virus. That day, Zou Yue, the news anchor for CGTN based in Beijing, made a moving presentation, saying, “Sober up, COVID-19 respects no national borders, no social bounds, no political systems and no cultural values. It hits us just as hard. It levels the world.
Facing the pandemic, it is not what happened matters. It is how we respond.” This news clip was showed to me by colleagues amid my taxing schedule. I agree, to conquer the menace, we should fight it as a family, as one team. Political coordination is must to steer the nation in dark times like this. I have taken my colleagues and friends across the political spectrum into confidence with an all-party meeting to seek their suggestions and I am committed to implementing them.
There is no shortage of masks and testing kits in Karnataka. I have assured the opposition leaders that a task force comprising ministers and officials has been formed to oversee the implementation of the government orders because of the 21-day lockdown. Also, briefed about the number of clinics, availability of medicines, protection gear for doctors, and quarantine rooms in the state.
Though I am satisfied with the effective mechanism we have in place to deal with the extraordinary situation, I held a separate meeting on the plight of the farmers in the state. I have issued directions to officials to ensure that farmers don’t undergo financial losses. I want to assure farmers that they need not worry about the return on their yields. I have ensured availability, transportation and marketing of vegetables and fruits to consumers.
I have been closely following national and regional media reports about inconveniences caused by the lockdown. I appreciate the media fraternity for bringing facts to the notice of the Government. My doors are always open to people in distress. I ensured that suggestions offered by the opposition leaders and the media would be part of my Government’s multi-pronged strategy to win the battle against the scourge of coronavirus.
Cooperate with police, says BSY
A technical strategy, humanitarian approach, economic/financial assistance and medical support are in place to handle the crisis. Meanwhile, the Labour Department has hit the 1 million mark in feeding the needy labourers. I acknowledge and appreciate the relentless service of ‘health warriors’ who are attending the call of duty round-the-clock. Please cooperate with the police. Our ‘Khaki warriors’ are discharging their duty in every corner of the state to ensure strict lockdown.
Till date, 248 cases have been confirmed; this includes 8 deaths and 60 discharges. As a result of strict measures, now we are in 10th place in the country. The outcome proves our government’s commitment, effective strategy to tackle the crisis and people’s constant support. Hon’ble PM Narendra Modi has ensured that the country has now 220 testing labs and we are doing 15,000 tests daily.
The national lockdown will end on Tuesday. But my government has decided to extend it till April 30. However, relaxation will be allowed over the next two weeks in a graded manner. Friends, your patience and cooperation is crucial to fight the menace. With concerted efforts, we will overcome the challenge. (The writer is the CM of Karnataka)