Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged chief ministers to ensure effective implementation of 'social distancing', saying it is the most important measure to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Modi deliberated on the ways to check the spread of coronavirus with the chief ministers of various states via video link.
He said the threat of the pandemic is common for all states, and underscored the need of the Centre and the states working together, a statement from the Prime Minister's Office said.
Modi suggested that the chief ministers should hold video conference with trade bodies in their states to prevent black marketing and undue price rise.
"He urged them to use soft power of persuasion as well as legal provisions, wherever necessary," the statement said.
During the course of their presentations, the chief ministers requested for augmentation of testing facilities, greater support to vulnerable sections, advancement of financial disbursement for 2020-21 to the states and need for roping in private labs and hospitals in larger numbers, the statement said.
Modi stressed the need to avoid panic. Given the global context of spread of the virus, constant vigilance is of paramount importance, he said, adding participation of citizens in combating the virus is a must.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh counterparts Uddhav Thackeray and Yogi Adityanath were among those who attended the video conference.
Modi has been pitching for involvement of people and local authorities to check the spread of the virus.
According to the statement, the Union Health Secretary gave an overview of the ongoing cooperation with states, monitoring of international passengers, use of community surveillance to track spread, logistics of testing facilities, travel restrictions and evacuation of Indian citizens from abroad.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) DG Balram Bhargava said India is currently in phase two of transmission, emphasising that at present the country is in the window for taking action to minimise the risk of transmission of phase three.
He talked about the importance of judicious use of health facilities and need to focus on ramping up quarantine facilities and isolation wards.
The chief ministers, the statement said, thanked the prime minister for the Centre's support to the states in combating the virus and also appreciated the impact of Modi's message in his address to the nation.
They briefed the prime minister and others about the preparations done till now by their respective states and assured that they will work together with the Centre to combat the pandemic.
The prime minister appreciated the steps taken by the states and thanked them for sharing their experiences and giving suggestions. He talked about the urgent need of capacity building of healthcare workers and augmentation of healthcare infrastructure.
Modi said that the COVID-19 Economic Task Force set up by the central government will formulate the strategy to devise suitable approach to effectively tackle the economic challenge.
He urged the chief ministers to ensure that all necessary steps are taken and all advisories are adhered to in order to ensure the safety of citizens in the country at large.
In his address to the nation on Thursday, Modi highlighted the scale of coronavirus' impact and noted that there is a view that India has averted the crisis and all is well.
"This mindset is not correct. Complacency in respect of a global pandemic like coronavirus is not appropriate. It is essential that each and every Indian remains alert and cautious," he said.
Studies of the countries hit by the pandemic have revealed that it exploded after a few days, and the number of people infected by it grew at a very rapid pace, he pointed out.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)