Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, March 18, chaired a meeting with senior officials to review the ongoing efforts to contain coronavirus pandemic in India. He is scheduled to address the nation at 8 pm on Thursday, March 19, over the issue. So far, India has 169 confirmed cases of coronavirus and has reported three deaths.
"Ways to further strengthen India's preparedness (over coronavirus) were discussed. This includes further enhancing testing facilities," an official statement from the PMO after the review meeting said.
In the meeting, PM Modi emphasised on actively engaging with individuals, local communities and organisations in chalking out mechanisms to fight the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. He also urged officials and technical experts to deliberate on the steps to be taken next.
PM Modi also expressed gratitude to all those at the forefront of combating COVID-19 including the various state governments, medical fraternity, paramedical staff, armed and paramilitary forces, those associated with the aviation sector, municipal staff and others, the statement read.
The Prime Minister will talk about issues relating to the COVID-19 outbreak and the efforts to combat it, tweeted the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday. Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan had also informed about the same during a visit to Delhi's IGI airport.
PM Shri @narendramodi will address the nation on 19th March 2020 at 8 PM, during which he will talk about issues relating to COVID-19 and the efforts to combat it.— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 18, 2020
The number of cases in India has been steadily rising, with the maximum cases of the virus being reported in Maharashtra and Kerala. India has suspended all visas, barring for a few categories such as diplomatic and employment apart from keeping in abeyance the visa-free travel facility to OCI cardholders till April 15.
First detected in Wuhan in December 2019, COVID-19 has affected nearly 148 countries worldwide Presently, there are 2,18,732 confirmed cases of COVID-19 which has led to the death of nearly 9,000 people. As there is no vaccine or specific antidote to treat COVID-19, countries have been grappling with all possible mechanisms to contain its scope. So far, China, South Korea, Italy, and Iran have witnessed the most number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.