States should rethink the utility of mini-lockdowns, assess economic disruption, says PM Modi

He also called on the chief ministers of Maharashtra, UP, Punjab, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to make special efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 in the 60 worst-affected districts of the country.

Only 60 districts in 7 states are a cause of worry: PM Modi at Covid-19 review meet
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said states should reconsider the utility of local lockdowns of one-two days and assess whether that was disrupting economic activity. He also called on the chief ministers of Maharashtra, UP, Punjab, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to make special efforts to control the spread of Covid-19 in the 60 worst-affected districts of the country.

The Prime Minister said the number of infections was rising but pointed out that India was conducting more than 1 million tests daily and recoveries were also high.

"Every state should analyse how effective the one-two day local lockdowns are against coronavirus. Are economic activities in your state facing difficulties due to this? All states should seriously consider this," he said in a videoconference with the seven CMs on Wednesday. "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."


Modi said it was time for the country to move ahead with reviving the economy.

"We have over 700 districts in the country but the figures show that the maximum cases are only in 60 districts in seven states," he said.

'Key demand accepted'
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"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."

Modi also announced that a key demand of the states had been accepted, allowing them to use 50% of the State Disaster Response Fund to combat Covid against 35% earlier. Besides testing, tracing and treatment, effective messaging was also important as most of those infected were asymptomatic and may be underestimating the infection. "Wearing a mask is crucial. (Maharashtra chief minister) Uddhav Thackeray has suggested how this should be similar to wearing spectacles," Modi said, asking the chief ministers to strengthen Covid-19 awareness by involving civil society.

Punjab and other states raised the issue of oxygen supplies, to which Modi said he had been told there was no shortage in the country. "There is a need for coordination among states so that transport of medical oxygen from one state to another can be maintained and rumours kept at bay as black marketeers can benefit," he said. "In the same way, we have to ensure the inter-state movement of medicines."

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh asked the PM for financial aid to farmers for help with management of paddy straw.
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