PM To Hold Video Call With States, Will Discuss Surge In COVID-19 Cases

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PM Modi To Hold Video Call With States, Will Discuss Surge In COVID-19 Cases

These will be the sixth and seventh virtual meetings between PM Modi and chief ministers (File)

New Delhi:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold further consultations with chief ministers on Tuesday and Wednesday, as the government faces a worrying surge in coronavirus cases over the past fortnight.

The Prime Minister will hold a video conference with the heads of 21 states and union territories at 3 pm Tuesday, including Punjab, Assam, Kerala and all northeastern states. On Wednesday, also at 3 pm, he will meet with the 15 worst-affected - including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Delhi.

These will be the sixth and seventh meetings between the Prime Minister and various chief ministers on the COVID-19 crisis.

PM @narendramodi will interact with state Chief Ministers on the 16th and 17th. pic.twitter.com/RWGeanxgHd

— PMO India (@PMOIndia) June 12, 2020

Health Ministry data Monday morning showed India had recorded 11,502 fresh coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, pushing the total number to 3.32 lakh.

This is the third successive 24-hour period in which over 11,000 new cases have been detected and the fourth to see more than 10,000 cases. 9,520 deaths have been linked to the infectious virus.

The spike comes as the government allowed major relaxations of the coronavirus lockdown; last week hotels and restaurants, shopping malls and places of worship were allowed to open, providing they followed social distancing rules.

Most forms of public transportation were also allowed, albeit with some restrictions, and private offices were allowed to function.

The relaxations were permitted to boost economic activity, which has stagnated since the lockdown. Last week the World Bank said the Indian economy would shrink by 3.2 per cent in the current fiscal.

The challenge before PM Modi and the states is to stop further spread of the COVID-19 virus while also jumpstarting the economy. On Saturday he met with senior ministers and officials to review the response to the outbreak.

On the agenda was the infection rate in Delhi; the national capital has reported 1,647 cases in the past 24 hours to take the total number to nearly 43,000. It had previously recorded over 2,000 new cases daily for three straight days.

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Delhi has seen a worrying surge in coronavirus cases over the past few days

Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who were part of that meeting, have since met with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. This morning Mr Shah chalked out a plan to try and contain the situation in Delhi.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who today ruled out plans for another lockdown in the city, will video conference with PM Modi on Wednesday, as will Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Mr Thackeray's state is the worst-affected, with 1.08 lakh confirmed cases. Capital Mumbai is India's worst-affected city with nearly 60,000 cases and 2,248 deaths.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu, which is the second worst-affected state with 44,661 cases, has ordered a lockdown of capital Chennai and surrounding areas. Like Delhi and Maharashtra, the southern state will met PM Modi on Wednesday.

India is the fourth most-affected country in the world; only the United States (20.95 lakh cases), Brazil (8.68 lakh cases) and the United Kingdom (5.29 lakh cases) are worse off.

With input from PTI

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