PM asks states to shut down lockdown rumours, focus on unlock 2.0

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday virtually ruled out any more lockdowns and instead asked states to prepare for the next phase of unlocking.

The Prime Minister’s remarks come at a time when the current phase of unlocking comes to an end on June 30, while the case load has crossed 3.54 lakh, with the recovery rate at over 52 per cent.

In his second round of meetings with Chief Ministers/ Lieutenant Governors/ Administrators of 15 States and Union Territories, he spoke of the need to fight rumours about further lockdowns, and said the country was now in a phase of Unlocking. “We need to now think about phase 2 of Unlock and how to minimise all possibilities of harm to our people,” he said.

The 15 States and UTs that participated in the meeting have a major share of the total case load and fatalities. On Tuesday, the PM held a meeting with the Chief Ministers and administrators of 21 States and UTs. The two days of meetings were the sixth in the series, since the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic across India.

He said the collective commitment to fight the virus will lead India to victory, while also talking about the need to speed up economic activities with due precautions in place. He noted that with a reduction in restrictions, indicators of economic performance were showing signs of revival. Inflation had been kept under control. He asked the States to take steps to boost infrastructure and construction related work. He listed steps taken under the Atmanirbhar Bharat programme to provide a fillip to MSMEs, farming and agriculture marketing. He also underscored the need to remain alert, to effectively tackle the challenges faced by migrant labourers in the coming months.

Challenges in big cities

Earlier, in his opening remarks, the Prime Minister said the spread of the virus was greater in certain big states and cities. High density of population, difficulty in maintaining physical distance and the daily movement of people in huge numbers presented challenges; yet, with the patience of citizens, the readiness of the administration and dedication of corona warriors, the spread had been controlled. “Through timely tracing, treatment and reporting, the number of those recovering was rising,” he said, while adding that the discipline shown by people during the lockdown had prevented the exponential growth of the virus.

Modi talked 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, supply of ventilators made in India using the PM CARES fund, availability of testing labs, lakhs of Covid special beds, thousands of isolation and quarantine centres, and adequate human resources through training.

He observed that the States where the Aarogya Setu app had been downloaded in large numbers were witnessing positive results. “Efforts should be made to increase the reach of the app,” he said, while underlining 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 had defeated the virus and had recovered. “Our priority must remain to help and support our corona warriors, doctors and healthcare workers,” he said.

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