As the nation entered its second day of the nationwide lockdown to curtail the spread of COVID-19, the Centre on Thursday assured that the state governments are working on measures to provide food and shelter to migrant workers.
"The government is taking steps to ensure the production, supply or distribution of essential goods and services do not get affected during coronavirus lockdown. States are working to provide food and shelter to migrant workers," Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, told the media.
Expressing confidence in the decision of 21-day lockdown, R Ganga Ketkar of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said the steps taken by the government are so effective that if people follow them strictly, it will contain the spread of the virus in the country.
Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that 17 states have started working on establishing hospitals dedicated for COVID-19 patients.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday appealed to migrant workers to stay wherever they are and not undertake train and bus journeys to their homes. He cautioned people against any kind of travel, saying they are risking their health and also that of their family members.
PM Modi's appeal on Twitter came amid reports of migrants leaving for their homes from big cities. He said travelling in a crowded space increases the risk of its spread. The risk will also increase for the people who live where you will be headed, he said.
"It is my plea to you to stay put for a few days in the city where you are. We can all stop this disease from spreading by doing so. By crowding railway stations and bus stands, we are playing with our health. Please be concerned about your health and that of your families. Don't step out of homes if not necessary," the Prime Minister said.
A total of 649 Coronavirus cases have been reported in India so far, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare informed on Thursday. Meanwhile, the country is observing a complete lockdown for a period of three weeks to curtail the spread of Coronavirus by breaking the chain of transmission. The lockdown, called by PM Modi has been in effect since Tuesday, March 24, midnight.
(With inputs from agencies)