With lockdown 4.0 set to end on May 31, Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba today held a video conference with all municipal commissioners and district magistrates of 13 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata to discuss the public health response to COVID-19 pandemic.
This is for the first time that the Cabinet secretary is interacting with city municipal commissioners on the Coronavirus situation as the Centre begins finalising the blueprint for post-May 31 strategy.
The meeting was reportedly attended by Chief Secretaries and Principal Secretaries (Health) of the states concerned.
Municipal commissioners of Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi/New Delhi, Ahmadabad, Thane, Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata/Howrah, Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Jaipur, Jodhpur, Chengalpattu (Tamil Nadu) and Thiruvallur (Tamil Nadu) attended the meeting.
These cities are among those which have reported the maximum number of novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 patients in the country.
The meeting comes in the wake of the novel Coronavirus showing no indication of slowing down with the increase mercury. In fact, in the last 15 days, it has steadily climbed the graph adding in two weeks more cases than it did in the first 100 days.
Collectors of the concerned districts are also likely to have joined the conference which is unique compared to previous COVID-19 meetings chaired by Gauba since the lockdown has been imposed to break the chain of transmission of the disease.
Gauba was expected to take stock of situation and plan a further strategy to slow down the number of COVID-19 patients in the country.
As the countrywide lockdown 4.0 is to end on May 31, the meeting is significant considering new strategy of the Central government against the virus which has crippled not only the lives of people but also the economy, which has been passing through its worst phase.
The meeting is expected to lay a road map for the Central government in taking decisions whether the ongoing lockdown that has crossed over 60 days should be extended further. It will also decide the nature of lockdown 5.0 and its duration if the government thinks to implement it further.
Earlier in April, Rajiv Gauba had an interaction with the district magistrates of Mumbai, Bhilwara, Gautam Budh Nagar and Agra — which were then the epicentre of Coronavirus cases — and urged them to come up with a crisis management plan in all districts.
Gauba held discussions with health ministry officials, district surveillance officers and others during which the DMs of “hotspot” districts spoke about the “proactive and ruthless approaches” adopted by them to prevent the spread of COVID-19 cases.
India is now among the ten countries worst hit by the pandemic that has over 5 million cases worldwide.
On Thursday, India recorded a huge spike of 6,566 new Coronavirus cases and 194 deaths in 24 hours. With this, the total number of COVID-19 infections stands at 1,58,333, including 86110 active cases. The death toll has climbed to 4,531.