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PM holds talks with CMs via video conferencing

PM holds talks with CMs via video conferencing

New Delhi: Concerned over the rise in positive cases of COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who held a meeting with all the Chief Ministers through video-conferencing, on Friday asked them to issue an advisory for 'Janata Curfew', which is scheduled on Sunday. India on Friday reported a total of 236 confirmed cases with 63 new ones in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, in the latest advisory of the Health Ministry, all hospitals have been asked to carry out a preparedness drill on Sunday. The advisory has also stated that all hospitals to provide free of cost treatment to any medical personnel who gets infected while treating patients.

According to official sources, while addressing the meeting, the Prime Minister said an advisory in this regard would encourage people to follow day-long self-isolation drive. At the meeting, which was held to discuss measures to combat COVID-19, all the Chief Ministers, except Madhya Pradesh, were present and they appreciated the impact of the Prime Minister's address to the nation on combating the virus.

Underscoring the need of the Centre and all states to work in tandem, Modi said the threat of the pandemic is common for all states. "While the participation of citizens is necessary to combat the challenge, panic needs to be avoided. Given the global context of the spread of the virus in various countries, constant vigilance is of paramount importance," he added.

Asking all the Chief Ministers to ensure effective implementation of all the advisories issued by the Union Health ministry, the Prime Minister said: "The next 3-4 weeks are crucial in efforts to contain the spread of the virus and the most important measure for containment is 'social distancing'."

While hailing the measures taken by the states and thanking them for sharing their experiences, the Prime Minister also stressed on the urgent need of capacity building of healthcare workers and augmentation of the healthcare infrastructure.

Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan along with his top officials attended the meeting. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, along with Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, Punjab's Amarinder Singh, Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were among those who attended the video-conference.

With playback singer Kanika Kapoor testing positive for COVID-19, the total confirmed cases rose to 236, which includes 209 active cases, 32 foreign nationals, 22 recovered and four deaths.

The number of confirmed cases has risen by 63 in the last 24 hours. The worldwide cases of COVID-19 are 10,497 deaths and 2,56,190 confirmed cases.

After Kanika Kapoor tested positive, there was a sense of panic among the Parliamentarians as Lok Sabha MP Dushyant Singh had attended a lavish party hosted by a top interior designer where the singer was also present. Some MPs also demanded suspension of the Parliament session to contain the spread of COVID-19.

However, Dushyant Singh and his mother former Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje, who also attended the party, have put themselves under self-quarantine. They have undergone tests and results are awaited. Several bureaucrats and politicians had also attended the party.

The Centre on Friday launched WhatsApp number 9013151515, which has been notified by MyGov.in, to stop misinformation and make people aware of the developments and prevention from the virus.

The Centre has extended the regular visa and e-visa of those foreigners who are currently in India and unable to leave the country due to the COVID-19 till April 15. In another move, visa-free travel facility granted to OCI cardholders, who are not in India presently, has also been kept in abeyance till April 15.

The Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) has deferred interviews of the candidates of civil services examination 2019, which were scheduled from March 23 to April 3.

Salaries to be paid: Sisodia

New Delhi: The Delhi government will pay salaries for contractual staff, daily wage staff and guest teachers employed at places which have been closed in view of Coronavirus, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Friday. Sisodia took to Twitter to make this announcement. "Delhi government will pay salaries to all contractual, daily wage workers, guest teachers at places that have been shut due to Coronavirus," he tweeted.

'Workplaces in Mumbai, Pune shut till March 31'

Mumbai: Amid growing concern over spread of Coronavirus, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said on Friday that all workplaces in major cities in Maharashtra, including Mumbai and Pune, will remain closed till March 31. The shutdown will be applicable in Mumbai, Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and Nagpur, Thackeray told reporters here. Government offices will operate at 25 per cent attendance, he said. Maharashtra so far has 52 Coronavirus positive cases, while one COVID-19 patient died in Mumbai this week.Thackeray said maximum number of patients were from these cities and had travelled abroad. In a televised address, Thackeray said only essential services will remain open which include food, milk and medicines. Banks will remain functional, Thackeray said.

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