PM Narendra Modi discussed steps to tackle Covid-19 during a video conference with Chief Ministers

The centre and states must have a "common exit strategy" for staggered re-entry of population after the 21-day national lockdown to fight the spread of coronavirus ends, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a video-conference with Chief Ministers today.

"It is important to formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population once the lockdown ends," PM Modi told Chief Ministers in a video-conference.

The PM said it "can't be business as usual" after the lockdown and certain safeguards would have to be taken, according to a press statement on the interaction.

PM Modi ordered a total lockdown on March 24 and said it was necessary to break the chain of transmission of the highly contagious disease. He said social distancing was the only way to control the spread of coronavirus.

The sudden announcement led to a scramble for essential supplies and over the next few days, thousands of migrants, abruptly left without jobs or shelter, started walking home.

The PM later said, during his radio show on Sunday: "I have had to take some decisions that has created hardship for you, especially my poor brothers and sisters... They must be thinking what kind of Prime Minister is this who has locked up all of us. I specifically ask for forgiveness from them. But looking at the world, this looks like the only option."

Sitting far apart from one another inside a large hall, PM Modi and some key Union Ministers including Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh held the video-conference to discuss how states are responding to the COVID-19 threat.

The disease caused by a novel coronavirus has killed at least 50 in India till this morning - 12 of those deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The number of people infected with COVID-19 rose to 1,965 today.

A novel virus is one that has not been previously identified in humans. The World Health Organisation has said this novel coronavirus can spread via respiratory droplets, so social distancing has been recommended.

During the video conference, PM Modi and the leaders discussed tracing the contacts of those who have been found infected with coronavirus and sending positive cases to quarantine facilities.

Sources said they were likely to discuss the sudden increase in positive cases after hundreds attended an Islamic sect meeting in Delhi's Nizamuddin, where many were found infected with coronavirus, and returned to their home states.

This was PM Modi's second video conference with chief ministers after COVID-19 infections were first detected in India last month, and the first such meeting after the Prime Minister enforced a 21-day lockdown to minimise the spread of the coronavirus.

All the states and Union Territories have mobilised resources and set up quarantine centres to tackle the COVID-19 threat.

Courtesy: NDTV