Janta Curfew prepared people for lockdown: Vardhan

PM Modi prepared people mentally for lockdown through Janta Curfew: Harsh Vardhan

Harsh Vardhan. PTI/File

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Thursday lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for mentally preparing people for the lockdown by giving a call to observe the Janta Curfew before imposing nationwide curbs three days later on March 25 to contain the spread of coronavirus.

He also said the doubling rate of COVID-19 cases in the country has been showing regular improvement and now stands at 12.5 days when seen over a period of three days which is an indicator of the positive effects of the lockdown.

According to a health ministry statement, while interacting with civil society organisations and NGOs through a video link, Vardhan thanked PM Modi for leading containment efforts by "first preparing the minds of people for lockdown through Janta Curfew and then announcing lockdown as part of the graded response to the evolving situation".

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NITI Aayog, CEO, Amitabh Kant was also present at the video conference.

"The COVID-19 doubling rate in the country has been showing regular improvement and stands at 12.5 days when seen over a period of three days, 11 days seen over a period of seven days and 9.9 days over a period of 14 days," the health minister said.

These may be taken as indicators of the positive effects of the lockdown along with the cluster management and containment strategies, Vardhan said.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 1,075 and the total number of cases climbed to 33,610 in the country on Thursday, recording an increase of 67 fatalities and 1,823 cases since Wednesday evening.

However, a PTI tally of the figures reported by various states as on Thursday showed 33,579 cases and 1,093 deaths in the country.

There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the number of deaths announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.

At the meeting, Vardhan expressed gratitude over the work done by over 92,000 NGOs in providing food and other necessities to different sections of society.

Appreciating the contribution of these organisations and terming it vital in the management of COVID-19, the minister said such work by these institutions also inspired other people to come forward and make contributions.

Vardhan also briefed the participants about the chronology of efforts made to combat the COVID-19 situation. "The Government of India has taken pre-emptive and pro-active action and escalated the response as per the situation," he said.

During the interaction, the NGOs raised concerns over the limited availability of medicines, lack of services for geriatric care especially in aspirational districts, issues faced by women, mobility problems faced by NGO workers during the lockdown, malnourishment and food security, issues of the stigma associated with certain livelihoods and problems in last-mile provision of entitlements to migrants among others.

They also urged Vardhan to take appropriate measures for boosting of immunity through traditional knowledge, dispel fears of communicable diseases among the people, financial support for micro, small and medium enterprises when the economy reopens after the lockdown.

Vardhan assured help to the NGOs and said that classification of districts in red, orange and green zones based on the number of coronavirus cases will help them in prioritizing their work. 

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