Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 23
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday told the chief ministers of seven top COVID burden states of India to focus on micro containment zones in 60 districts where the disease load is concentrated besides ensuring universalisation of masks to block the chain of viral transmission.
In a virtual meeting with the CMs of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, UP, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab, which account for 65.5 per cent of India’s total cases and 77 per cent of all deaths, the PM stressed the need to start focusing on economic revival along with COVID management.
”I urge all the CMs to analyse whether local level lockdowns are yielding benefits in the fight against COVID19 or not. They must ensure that these lockdowns are not interrupting economic activity,” the PM said, announcing the Centre’s decision to enhance from 35 to 50 per cent the limit for fund use by states under the state disaster relief fund.
He said the enhanced limit will help states with extra funds to fight COVID19.
The PM defended the national lockdown in early days, adding that “it helped a lot and was praised worldwide”.
He told the CMs, “We must now start micro containment in the 60 districts which account for maximum COVID load in India. These districts are in seven states. I urge CMs to ensure block level containment in these 60 districts,” PM Modi said.
He stressed the need to universalise the use of masks, noting that several studies have pointed to the benefits of masks in preventing COVID transmission which, he admitted, was mostly asymptomatic, leading to suspicions over testing and its efficacy.
”We have to guard against rumours, like Punjab CM Amarinder Singh ji has said. Wearing masks may be a tough habit but we have to inculcate it. I agree with Uddhav Thackeray ji that it is like wearing spectacles,” the PM said, asking states to coordinate on the movement of life saving oxygen to save lives.
”The national lockdown in initial days have helped a lot and it was praised worldwide but now we have to focus on micro containment zones to control COVID transmission and enable normal activity. States must analyse how effective are one- or two-day lockdowns to prevent transmission. Hope this is not preventing economic activity. States must think seriously along these lines and going forward ensure both COVID management and economic revival,” PM said, adding that the COVID-related infrastructure was helping in the fight against the disease which is concentrated in 60 districts, even when India has 700-plus districts.