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Satet Chief Ministers seek travel curbs, testing at private labs to battle coronavirus

NEW DELHI: In a bid to ensure a unified strategy to contain the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held consultations with all the chief ministers through video conferencing. The CMs are learnt to have made a host of demands, including travel restrictions and financial support to the vulnerable, besides boosting the health infrastructure.

Union Minister for health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan along with top officials of the ministry and the Indian Council for Medical Research were present in the video conferencing. Stressing on constant vigilance, the PM told the chief ministers that the country is in a critical stage of tackling the pandemic. He stressed that there is no need for panic.

“Threat of the pandemic is common for all states. We all must work together. The next 3-4 weeks are crucial in containing the outbreak of the virus,” Modi told the CMs. Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and the ICMR DG Balaram Bhargav gave details of the measures. Bhargav stressed that while India is in stage two of the pandemic, there is a window for actions to avert slipping into phase 3 in which community-based spread happens.

West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee is learnt to have sought assistance in increasing the testing facilities and stopping all international flights coming to Kolkata. The CMs also sought advance release of funds to deal with the situations and called for roping in the private labs for the testing of the patients showing symptoms of COVID-19. All the chief ministers assured full support to the Prime Minister in strategies to deal with the situation.