New Delhi, March 23, 2020:
Lav Agrawal, the Joint Secretary of the Health Department, has confirmed that as many as nineteen states across the country have gone into complete lockdown to contain the spread of the pandemic coronavirus (or COVID-19).
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The 19 states, the Health official said, are Chandigarh, Delhi, Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Ladakh, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Tripura, Telangana, Chattisgarh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh.
In 6 states, and UTs, partial lockdowns is being observed, Agarwal informed, adding that 3 more states have also issued directives in a bid to defeat the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, Cabinet Secretary has written to the Chief Secretaries of the states and has urged them to monitor the situation 24×7, and in case there is any need to impose additional restrictions, they should monitor the situation closely. “Anyone who does not abide by these rules should be punished”, Agarwal said.
Explaining the need for a lockdown and the concept of breaking the chain, Agarwal further added, “Lockdown is a properly understood term, which will convey our message strongly and clearly. The action that will be taken will be taken as per the Epidemic Disease Act and also the Disaster Management Act under the IPC and CrPc. We want to convey that all services apaprt from essential services be suspended. In regards to the breaking of chain of transmission, when we will maintain social distancing, when we will be in lockdown, the spread of cases can be curtailed; the number of cases can be reduced, and the number of cases that are detected can be controlled and managed.”
The Health Official further stated that if only partial implementation of the lockdowns is carried out, the purpose of the exercise (to break the chain of coronavirus transmission) will be defeated. All the concerned officials such as District Magistrates, SPs of Police, Police Commissioners, and Municipal Commissioners have been urged to deal with the situation.
There are 415 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in India, Agarwal said, adding that 23 patients have been discharged after recovery. 7 people, Agarwal informed, have died so far of infections.
Agarwal also confirmed that the PM has also called upon media personnel to relay “correct information” to the masses and dissuade the spread of “fake news”, reports of which circulating on social media are rampant.
Meanwhile, Agarwal stated that efforts are on to augment the capacities of the health facilities, adding that the Centre has urged the States to prepare dedicated hospitals to treat COVID-19 crisis.
The Health Ministry has also informed that as per rules and guidelines laid down by the ICMR, there are 12 laboratory chains which have been registered. 15,000 collection centres have been set up under those chains and they are rapidly increasing. Kit manufacturing has also been fasttracked at the ICMR, Pune, the Health Department informed.
The prices of sanitizers and masks has been capped, and the manufacturers have been urged to increase production to meet the needs, and they have been instructed to meet the Government assigned standards.
Meanwhile, in a bid to rescue Indians stranded in foreign countries, the Health Ministry stated that Indians from Kuala Lumpur will be brought in later today on an Air Asia flight. Efforts are further on to evacuate transit passengers who are stuck abroad.
It is pertinent to mention here that the coronavirus, which has killed at least 15,000 people across the world, has spread its tentacles to several States across the Indian Union.
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