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Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: As India enters final week of the lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday conveyed to chief ministers that the country will have to give importance to the economy as well as to continue the fight against coronavirus.

In a video conference with the chief ministers, fourth such interaction since March 22 when he first spoke to them on the pandemic, Modi also highlighted the importance for states to enforce prescribed guidelines strictly in the coronavirus hotspots zones, the government said in a statement.

The prime minister underlined that the lockdown has "yielded positive results as the country has managed to save thousands of lives in the past one and a half months", it said.

"Prime Minister said that the country has seen two Lockdowns till now, both different in certain aspects, and now we have to think of the way ahead. He said that as per experts, the impact of coronavirus will remain visible in the coming months," the statement added.

Modi also said that masks and face covers will become part of lives of people in the days ahead, adding everyone's aim must be to ensure rapid response under the current circumstances.

Among those present at the virtual meet, included Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and top officials from the PMO and the Union Health Ministry.

Among those present at the virtual meet, included Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and top officials from the PMO and Union Health Ministry.

The Chief Ministers who attended the meeting included Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), E K Palaniswami (Tamil Nadu), Conard Sangma (Meghalaya) Trivendram Singh Rawat (Uttarakhand) and Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh).

The Prime Minister was wearing a white 'gamcha' (Indian stole for men) with green border. He has been using 'gamcha' to cover his face during such meets.

Sources in the government had on Sunday indicated that besides discussing the way forward in dealing with the pandemic, the Prime Ministers and Chief Ministers could also focus on a "graded" exit from the lockdown.

In a tweet on Monday, the Prime Minister's Office said Modi and the chief ministers will be discussing aspects relating to the COVID-19 situation.

In his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio address on Sunday, the Prime Minister said the country is in the middle of a 'yudh' (war) and asserted that people have to continue being careful and take precautions.

His note of caution came amidst gradual exemptions being granted by the Centre and states to revive economic activities.

"I urge you not to get overconfident. You should in your over-enthusiasm not think that if the coronavirus has not yet reached your city, village, street or office, it is not going to reach now. Never make such a mistake. The experience of the world tells us a lot in this regard," Modi said while referring to a popular Hindi idiom 'Sawdhani hati, durghatna ghati' (disaster strikes when you lower your concentration).

The Centre and the state governments have been giving gradual exemptions to boost economic activities as also to provide relief to people as some states want further relaxation in areas which have seen few or no coronavirus cases.

(PTI)

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