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Devbrat Patnaik

Bhubaneswar: As the lockdown 2.0 is due to end in a week's time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a video conferencing with Chief Ministers to discuss the prevailing COVID-19 situation. According to sources, during the interaction, Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik laid focus on taking care of stranded workers by respective States.

The CM has reportedly urged the Centre to come up with a national uniform Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for smooth and seamless movement of all the stranded persons including students, workers, pilgrims, patients and professionals. This apart, he has requested to improve the COVID-19 testing facilities.

A few national media reports have claimed CM Naveen also suggested that the ongoing lockdown be extended. However, there is no confirmation on this yet from the Chief Minister's Office.

In another development, Patnaik has announced Rs 15 lakh compensation to the family of working journalists in case s/he dies of COVID-19.

Speaking to media, State Health Minister Naba Das who was also present during the discussion between PM Modi and CM Naveen hinted at a possible extension of lockdown. "There is a need to extend the COVID-19 lockdown for another month. Even Health Ministers of other States suggested for an extension during our earlier discussion."

"The Centre is likely to come up with a clear guideline by April 30 with regard to bringing stranded migrants back home. As a precautionary measure, we had requested States to conduct COVID-19 testing of migrants before sending them back to the State. The good thing is they have agreed to our demand."

What PM Modi Said Via Video Conference?

During the crucial discussion, PM Modi highlighted the importance of strict enforcement of guidelines in the hotspots. He stated that the efforts of States should be directed towards converting the red zones into orange and then subsequently to green zones.

The Prime Minister said, "We have to give importance to the economy, and at the same time continue the fight against COVID -19."

PM Modi emphasized on the significance of ensuring that more people download the AarogyaSetu app to bolster the efforts of the country in the battle against COVID-19. He also emphasized on the importance of usage of technology as much as possible and utilize time to embrace reform measures.

Prime Minister also urged the Chief Ministers to lay extra focus on the changes in weather - the advent of summer and monsoon - and the illnesses that can potentially come in this season, while strategizing ahead.

Excerpts from PM Modi's discussion today:

[caption id="attachment_447719" align="aligncenter" width="669"]PM Modi discussion with CMs on COVID-19 Lockdown Image: narendramodi.in[/caption]

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