The Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, on Tuesday addressed the country on the way forward in the collective battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 339, while the cases climbed to 10,363 on Tuesday.
The fight against coronavirus is going on very strongly, he said, in address to the nation. Because of people's sacrifices, India has been able to contain coronavirus spread to a great extent, said Mr. Modi. 'Despite the pain and suffering you have performed your duties like a disciplined soldier to serve the country. This is the power of we the people of India.'
This restraint is a true tribute to Dr Ambedkar on his birth anniversary. He said he appreciated people's discipline for the lockdown amidst the festive season.
India took the early initiative of containing the coronavirus and screening people arriving at airports, he said.
The broad consensus at the recent interaction with the chief ministers was the pressing need to extend the stay-at-home policy at least for another two weeks. As many as seven states, including Punjab, have already declared extension of restrictions.
Yet, the larger issue remains not just a nationwide lockdown to consolidate the gains of the three-week period in force since March 25 but the road map the government would come up with. he said. The challenge is to reopen the country in a manner taking care of the real concern over the spread of the virus. As per the latest figures, the country reported slightly over 9,000 cases with the rate of new cases showing an uptick.
Against the backdrop of the great challenge to contain the pandemic from spreading, the Central and state governments are acutely concerned over the debilitating effect on the economy.
The three-week lockdown brought the country’s wheels of the economy to a grinding halt – barring those in essential services sector – and now the onus is to adopt a policy to strike a balance between health pandemic and restarting the economy.
Sources privy to discussions in top echelons of the Central government are working on three choices: complete lockdown over a specific period of time; partial rollback with calibrated response allowing industrial units to gradually come back to work; and colour-coded zones.
The data that nearly 350 of the 712 districts have not reported any case of Covid19 brings an element of comfort wherein the policy planners are looking at demarcating the country/districts or areas in three colour zones – Red, Orange and Green.
The ones with Green could be permitted some limited activity within the overall strategy of social distancing. The Group of Ministers and several ministers have already been on the job pushing suggestions for action.
The focus of the Centre, as Mr. Modi put it at the Chief Ministers’ interaction, is a shift from 'Jaan hai to jahan hai’' to 'Jaan bhi, jahan bhi'’. Also as a measure to infuse confidence, the Centre opened its offices making it mandatory for officers of senior administrative grade to attend from Monday.