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Centre, states take all steps to ensure continued supply of essential commodities

The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, NPPA has asked States and Union Territories to ensure uninterrupted movement of raw materials, finished products and manpower related to manufacturing and distribution of drugs and medical devices.

NPPA Chairman Shubhra Singh has written a letter to States and Union Territories saying that seamless functioning of Pharma manufacturing and distribution units is essential in dealing with the emergent situation. She said, Pharma companies are facing problem in movement of stock and manpower which may hamper production and supply of medicines and medical devices.

Ms Singh said, NPPA has requested the States and Union Territories to give suitable instructions to District Administrations and concerned authorities to facilitate the Pharma companies during the lockdown period.
In Mizoram, state govt has taken all measures to ensure that the essential commodities, foodstuff under PDS and vegetables will be made available to the people during the 21-day lock down period. While stating this, Chief Minister Zoramthanga yesterday said, this will be undertaken by the Local Task Force, by reaching out to every family.

The Chief Minister Zoramthanga assured that the Supply Committee formed under the State Level Task Force on COVID 19 will see that vegetables and other crops in the state are being harvested and also distributed safely among the people during the total lockdown period.

He said systematic distribution system is already chalked out with the help of Local Task Force. He has also thanked the volunteers of the local task force in becoming the backbone for management of citizens during the time of crisis.

Chief Minister also assured of safety to Mizo people locked- on outside the state. He said, Lok Sabha MP C Lalrosanga and Rajya Sabha MP Ronald Sapa Tlau have been monitoring the situation.
 Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced that Shops selling essential commodities will be allowed to stay open 24 hours of the day.

The Chief Minister’s Office statement said that the decision was taken to prevent crowding at shops and marketplaces amid the lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

It said that Thackeray held discussions with senior officials who are in charge of special control room for coronavirus set up at the Mantralaya or the state secretariat about how to ensure smooth supply of essential goods earlier in the day. With 5 deaths and 125 coronavirus cases, Maharashtra is, highest in the country in COVID-19 outbreak. 
In Tamil Nadu, nine different committees have been formed with senior IAS officers to address concerns over the movement and availability of essential goods to all during the curfew period. A decision on this has arrived after a marathon review meeting held by the state Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy with district collectors and superintendents of police via video-conferencing. Later, the administration issued a statement in Chennai saying, in all district headquarters, a help centre would be established to ensure the movement of essential goods to all places. Section 144, initially promulgated till the end of this month is being extended up to 14th April when the curfew ends.

Private lenders have been directed not to insist on payment of interest and principal for the loans they have given to the poor until further orders due to their job loss. The lenders have been warned of dire consequences if they violate the directive.

District officials have been asked to give identity cards to people other than government servants who are involved in the movement of essential goods.

Besides e-commerce agencies, small retail outlets are also allowed to make door delivery of dry groceries and vegetables.

The list of about 54-thousand people who came from abroad recently has been shared with all district collectors. They have been asked to ensure their proper quarantine.

AIR correspondent reports that the Government Multi-Super Speciality Hospital in Chennai has been converted into a 350-beded facility exclusively for Covid-19 treatment. Isolation wards, step-down wards and medical and paramedical teams are put in place. In Chennai alone, there are over 20-thousand homes that are declared quarantined. However, the city Corporation Commissioner has appealed to public that they should not be considered as people with patients. He has clarified that the action is only a precautionary measure. He has appealed to the public having vacant homes or lodges to give them temporarily to the civic body to augment the isolation and quarantine facilities in the city. Meanwhile, a third private diagnostic centre has been approved by the Indian Council for Medical Research in Chennai.
In Himachal Pradesh, statewide curfew has been relaxed for six hours daily for the public to make essential purchases. Chief Minister Jairam Thakur urged the people to come out of their homes only in the emergency situation as the curfew have been enforced for their safety.

In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, the state government has decided to extend the closure of all the offices of the state government till 31 March except those notified by the state government as essential services.

In order to facilitate people for their daily needs curfew has been relaxed from 7:00 am to 1:00 pm daily across the state. The relaxation in curfew is only to facilitate people to buy their essential commodities not for commuting from one place to another un-necessarily. Only one family member has been allowed to go out for purchasing during the relaxation period. Chief MinisterJairam Thakur directed the District Commissioners’ to explore the possibility of home delivery through major departmental stores of urban areas which would be helpful in observing social distancing. Jairam Thakur also urged the people of the State to buy essential commodities from groceries nearer to their homes as it would be helpful in breaking the COVID-19 chain. 

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has said that there is no reason for panic buying as supply of essential commodities will be made available across the State during lockdown period. The statement comes after certain parts of the State witnessed panic buying when some relaxation was given for public to buy essential food items.

Chief Minister’s Office said that purpose of social distancing and lockdown will be defeated if people do not follow the directives of the Government and District Administration, who have been working tirelessly to ensure that essential items and services of the Government is made available to the people.

The Chief Minister informed that essential food items will be made available to the public by the administration in different localities.

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