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PRIME MINISTER TO HOLD VIRTUAL MEETINGS WITH CHIEF MINISTERS

June 15, 2020 07:42 AM

COURTESY TOI JUNE 15

PRIME MINISTER TO HOLD VIRTUAL MEETINGS WITH CHIEF MINISTERS
Centre Unlikely to Reimpose Lockdown; PM may Advise CMs Not to Lower Guard
Aman.Sharma@timesgroup.com

New Delhi:

While a blanket reimposition of a lockdown by the Centre is not on the cards, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to tell the CMs to not lower their guard in the Covid-19 urban containment zones.


A senior government official told ET that the PM could ask the CMs to go for extensive door-to-door screening of people living in urban containment zones and be stricter in implementation of social distancing measures and usage of face masks. The Centre has received a feedback that things have turned complacent in some states. Modi is also expected to ask certain states to increase their testing numbers by the end of June to be able to detect patients early and reduce mortality.

The meetings are scheduled on June 16 and 17 in two batches with the worst-affected states slotted for Day 2. “States have to call the shots now but closer central coordination is needed. The PM is expected to seek the CMs’ suggestions and draw up a common strategy. There is no plan to reimpose a blanket lockdown. For us, the test positivity ratio, which stands at 5.6% nationally, is the most important indicator as to how a state is doing against Covid-19. The key is to enforce social distancing norms effectively and impose fines if the same is not adhered to,” said the official.

States will have the liberty to go for stricter measures if the need be. For example, Punjab has gone for a stricter lockdown on weekends and Rajasthan chose to close its borders this week, said the official.

The Centre is pleased with the recovery rate crossing 50% on Sunday but is equally worried about the rising strain on health infrastructure as there are close to 1.5 lakh active cases now. “The capacity utilisation is not there in some states such as UP while it is stretched in other places like Delhi,” another senior official told ET.

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