On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a discussion with leaders of the pharmaceutical industry via video conferencing amid the novel coronavirus crisis. Maintaining that the pharma producers and distributors had an important role in fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic, he called upon them to ensure the maintenance of supply of essential medicines, medical kits, and equipment. Moreover, he stated that the Centre has approved schemes worth Rs.10,000 crore and Rs.4,000 crore to produce critical drugs and medical equipment respectively.
Urging for the speedy manufacturing of RNA diagnostic kits for the novel coronavirus, the PM asked the medicine retailers and pharmacists to ensure that black marketing and hoarding of medicines does not take place. He also gave suggestions such as avoiding supply of medicines in bulk, the possibility of home delivery of medicines to maintain social distancing and promotion of digital payment mechanisms. At the same time, he appreciated the commitment of the pharma industry and the zeal with which they are working.
During the interaction, the Pharmaceutical associations lauded PM Modi for his leadership. They expressed their willingness to not just ensure a regular supply of essential medicines and equipment but also revealed that they were working on developing vaccines. According to them, the Centre’s policy announcements would give a huge boost to the pharmaceutical sector.
Currently, there are 283 confirmed cases of the novel Coronavirus with one death reported in Mumbai, Delhi, Kalaburagi and Punjab each. On Thursday, the Centre announced stringent measures to combat the novel Coronavirus crisis. For instance, international flights shall not be allowed to land in India from March 22 for a week. Moreover, the Centre has directed the state governments to advise the people below the age of 10 and above the age of 65 to remain at home. The state governments have also been instructed to enforce work from home for private-sector employees barring for those working in emergency or essential services.
Addressing the nation on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked extensively about the challenges caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He stressed that “resolve” and “restraint” were the two most important things to be followed. Thereafter, he announced that Janta Curfew - a curfew for the people and of the people would be observed on Sunday, March 22. On this day, all citizens except those providing essential services were requested not to step out of the house from 7 am to 9 pm.