PM Narendra Modi’s address to nation on March 19 to talk about COVID-19, efforts to combat it

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on Thursday (March 19) at 8 PM, during which he will talk about issues relating to COVID-19 and the efforts to combat it.

The information about Prime Minister’s address to the nation was given by PMO’s twitter handle that said, “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.”

Notably, the Prime Minister also chaired a high-level meeting today to review the ongoing efforts to contain COVID-19. He discussed the ways to further strengthen India’s preparedness, and this included enhancing testing facilities.

According to PMO’s statement, “Prime Minister emphasised on actively engaging with individuals, local communities and organisations in chalking our mechanisms to fight the COVID-19 menace. He also urged officials and technical experts to deliberate on the steps to be taken next.”

The Prime Minister 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.

Earlier in the day, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that India initiated its response to the coronavirus threat on January 8 while the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) on January 30.

“The states were addressed for initiating health sector preparedness on January 17. Point of entry — ports, airports, and international border — surveillance was initiated from January 17,” the ministry said in a release.

It further stated that as on March 17, a total of 12,726 flights have been screened covering 13,54,858 passengers. By the same date, 829 vessels and 29,058 passengers/crew have been screened at 12 major and 65 non-major seaports.

The travel advisories have been issued from January 30 onwards in view of COVID-19. As of March 17, the number of passengers under screening is 69,436. 5,596 symptomatic cases have been identified amongst them. 652 passengers have been hospitalised with the maximum being from Kerala at 289.

The ministry also stated that the number of positive cases of coronavirus has climbed to 151, including 25 foreign nationals, while three persons have died due to the infection so far in India.

Meanwhile, the novel coronavirus epidemic is showing no signs of stopping as the number of confirmed cases across the world on Wednesday surpassed 200,000. The global death toll has increased to 8,779.