In wake of the lockdown in the entire country to tackle coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked states and Union Territories to keep a strict watch on rumour mongers, including those related to the shortage of food and other essential services and commodities. The Home Ministry also asked them to ensure that essential services are maintained for people during the 21-day lockdown period. "In the wake of the orders that have been issued under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, there are possibilities of rumour mongering, including those relating to shortage of food and other essential services and commodities," the MHA said in a letter to states and Union Territories (UTs).
"In this context, it is imperative that all state governments and Union Territory Administrations take necessary steps to suitably publicise through all available means that food, medical, and civil supplies, and other essential services will be maintained and there are adequate supplies available in the country," it said.
It further urged the states and UTs that provisions of the guidelines issued on the measures to be taken for containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the country may be "suitably disseminated amongst the public".
"All measures may be taken to allay apprehensions and maintain peace and tranquillity," it said.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day lockdown in the entire country to deal with the spread of coronavirus, saying that "social distancing" is the only option to deal with the disease, which spreads rapidly.
In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Modi said that it is vital to break the chain of the disease and experts have said that at least 21 days are needed for it.
As per Union Health Ministry's latest report, the COVID-19 cases in the country on Wednesday reached 562, including 40 cured and discharged and 9 deaths.
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