India

Need Plan For "Staggered" Movement Of People After Lockdown: PM To States

Need Plan For
New Delhi:

The centre and states must have a common strategy to ensure staggered movement of people after the national lockdown ends, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today at a video-conference with Chief Ministers on the coronavirus crisis.

"It is important to formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population once the lockdown ends," PM Modi said, according to a statement giving details of the interaction.

The PM also said it "can't be business as usual" after the lockdown and certain safeguards would have to be taken, according to the statement. States must enforce the lockdown "seriously", he said, urging them to stick to social distancing.

Seven chief ministers participated in the meeting, which was conducted by Home Minister Amit Shah. PM Modi, Mr Shah and other ministers sat far apart from one another inside a large hall.

According to some chief ministers, there was no response to their request for more funds to fight the virus.

PM Modi ordered a total national lockdown on March 24 and said it was necessary to break the chain of transmission of the highly contagious disease, which has infected close to a million worldwide. He said social distancing was the only way to control the spread of coronavirus.

The announcement led to a scramble for essential supplies and over the next few days, thousands of migrant workers abruptly left without jobs or shelter, started walking home. The movement on the roads presented a frightening spectacle at a time social distancing is crucial to avoid infection.

The PM, in his radio show on Sunday, apologised for what he called a tough decision that was necessary to fight coronavirus.

The disease caused by a novel coronavirus has caused at least 50 deaths in India - 12 of those were reported in the last 24 hours. The number of people infected with COVID-19 rose to 1,965 today.

During the video conference, PM Modi and the leaders also discussed contact tracing of hundreds who attended an Islamic sect meeting in Delhi's Nizamuddin linked to nearly 400 coronavirus cases.