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In COVID meet with 7 states, PM Modi emphasises on testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread like wildfire, with the total number of confirmed cases having crossed the 55 lakh-mark, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ramping up efforts to contain the pandemic. The Prime Minister on Wednesday said that that focus should be on ‘testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging’ in the battle against COVID-19. He made the statement during a high-level meeting with the chief ministers of seven states which are the worst-hit by the pandemic and raised a red flag about 60 districts of the country spread across these states, as far as their handling of the current pandemic is concerned.

Prime Minister Modi chaired a high-level virtual meeting with Chief Ministers & Health Ministers of seven states and Union territories with high COVID numbers. These states and UTs include Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab.

“We need to increase our focus on effective testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging,” Modi said. He further said that even though it is ‘difficult’, wearing masks should become like a habit.

“It is difficult to make wearing masks a habit, but we will not be able to get the desired results if we don’t make it a part of our daily life,” Modi added.

“Effective messaging is also necessary because most #COVID19 infections are without symptoms. In such a situation, rumours may rise. It might raise doubts in the minds of the people that testing is bad. Some people also make mistake of underestimating the severity of infection,” Modi said.

PM Modi also said that states should work together with the Centre to ensure that medicines easily reach from one state to another.

“India has ensured the supply of life-saving medicines all over the world even in difficult times. We have to work together to see that the medicines easily reach from one state to another,” Modi said.

“There are more than 700 districts in the country but only 60 districts in 7 states are a cause of worry. I suggest CMs to hold virtual conference with people at district/block level for 7 days. We’ve to learn from the best practices from across the states,” he said.

The PM also said that these states should assess the effectiveness of lockdowns for one or two days and consider if they hamper economic activities. “We should enhance focus on effective testing, tracing, treatment, surveillance and clear messaging. While fighting COVID-19, we have to also move ahead with full strength on the economic front. States should assess the effectiveness of 1 or 2-day lockdowns and consider if they hamper economic activities,” said PM Modi.

Highlighting the importance of communication amid the pandemic, Modi said effective messaging becomes all the more essential because most Covid-19 infections are asymptomatic. “In such a situation, rumours may rise. It might create doubts in people`s minds that testing is bad,” He said, he also warned against scenarios in which because of lack of communication, people may commit the mistake of underestimating the severity of infection.