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Union Cabinet Secretary reviews preparedness to contain Coronavirus

Government of India has taken a number of proactive and timely measures such as travel restrictions, universal screening of passengers at airports and seaports, suspension of visas and self-quarantine measures to effectively prevent, contain and manage COVID-19.

The identification of additional quarantine facilities, development of isolation wards, training of health workers & doctors, ensuring adequate equipments, PPEs, medicines, masks etc., are being strengthened further in all States and UTs.

Union Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba today reviewed preparedness and actions taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 with Chief Secretaries of all states through video conferencing. He also reviewed the steps taken for the creation of mass awareness about the Novel Coronavirus.

To check the shortages and black-marketing, Government of India has declared masks and hand sanitizers as essential commodities under Essential Commodities Act up to June 30, 2020. Under the Essential Commodities Act, States can ask manufacturers to enhance their production capacity of these items, to make the supply chain smooth.

Few states have also utilised the enabling provision for infectious disease management as provided under Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897. Under the Act, the States may take, or require or empower any person to take some measures and by public notice prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public.

Under the Disaster Management Act, the States/UTs can now draw funds from the State Disaster Response Fund, in addition to the funds from the state government and the NHM. Ministry of Home Affairs has issued detailed guidelines to States/UTs in this regard.

In addition, the network of labs equipped to test COVID-19 have been expanded to 52, in total.

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