NEW DELHI, April 2 - Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday told chief ministers to focus on COVID-19 containment measures � testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine � with a common goal of ensuring minimum loss of life, and pitched for a joint strategy for a �staggered� exit from the ongoing lockdown.
As the country witnessed a spike in coronavirus infections and deaths in the past few days, the Prime Minister held a meeting with the chief ministers via video conference, and said it was imperative to work on a war footing, identify hotspots, encircle them and ensure that the infection does not spread out.
According to an official statement, Modi also pitched for formulating a common exit strategy to ensure �staggered re-emergence of the population� once the 21-day nationwide lockdown ends on April 14.
Reiterating the importance of social distancing in preventing the spread of the virus, Modi asked the states to brainstorm and send suggestions on a strategy from exit from the lockdown.
�The Prime Minister outlined that the common goal for the country is to ensure minimum loss of life. In the next few weeks, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should remain the areas of focus,� the statement said.
The states spoke about the importance of mobilising resources, financial as well as medical, to mitigate the crisis, the statement said.
Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan spoke about the rise in number of cases in India, spread of cases from the Nizamuddin headquarters of Tablighi Jamaat, preparations to tackle medical cases arising out of further spread of the virus, and need to break the transmission chain in the districts with high number of confirmed cases.
During the interaction, the Prime Minister forewarned that the global situation remains far from satisfactory. He informed the participants about speculations of a �possible second wave� of spread of the virus in some countries.
Modi highlighted the necessity of maintaining supply of essential medical products, availability of raw material for manufacture of medicines and medical equipment. He also said it was necessary to ensure availability of separate, dedicated hospital facilities for COVID-19 patients.
He said it is pertinent to maintain peace, and law and order across the country as COVID-19 has attacked �our faith and belief and is threatening our way of life�.
He also appealed to the leaders to reach out to community leaders and social welfare organisations to build up a united front based on community-approach in the battle against the pandemic.
To increase the availability of doctors, he asked the states to tap into the resource pool of AYUSH doctors, organise online training and utilise para-medical staff, National Cadet Corps and National Social Service volunteers.
Modi also thanked the states for supporting the decision of lockdown due to which India has achieved some success in limiting the spread of COVID-19. He praised how all the states have worked together as a team to check the spread of the virus.
The chief ministers thanked the Prime Minister for his leadership, continuous guidance and support in this time of crisis. They appreciated him for taking the bold and timely decision of lockdown which has helped check the spread of the virus in the country, the statement said. � PTI