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PM lines up videoconference from home to tackle pandemic

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has asked people to stay at home to save themselves and their loved ones from Covid-19, is emulating the same by staying put at his 7 Lok Kalyan Marg (LKM) residence for the past few days.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Mar 25, 2020, 04.50 AM IST
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Coronavirus

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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has asked people to stay at home to save themselves and their loved ones from Covid-19, is emulating the same by staying put at his 7 Lok Kalyan Marg (LKM) residence for the past few days.

Modi is not even going to the PMO at South Block. Instead, a series of videoconferences have been lined up by the PM from his residence to monitor the situation. Both his addresses to the nation — on March 20 and on Tuesday — were delivered from 7 LKM.

Senior officials like his principal secretary PK Mishra, cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, health secretary Preeti Sudan and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director Balram Bhargava have been meeting the PM at his residence and briefing him daily on the developments, ET has learnt.

The PM is keeping a close eye on the number of cured and discharged cases, which stood at 39 as of Tuesday evening. He has directed officials to speak about this figure more as a reassuring message to people that India has the capability to cure Covid-19 cases, an official in the know told ET. “Even during seating arrangement in these meetings and videoconferences, the PM and the officials practice social distancing. Videoconferences with other stakeholders have been opted for given the existing ban on travel and to avoid calling people personally to 7 LKM but rather use technology,” the official said.

The PM has held separate videoconferences with representatives of corporate India, the pharma industry, the electronic and print media, and doctors and medical associations. More such meeting are lined up . “Inputs from all these stakeholders were duly jotted down himself by the PM,” an official said.

The prime minister will also hold a videoconference with the people of his constituency, Varanasi, on Wednesday.

In the US and the UK, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson have been holding almost daily press briefings, during which they also field questions. Modi has not opted for this. Instead, he has held two addresses to the nation so far. “The success of the same reflected in the way the Janata Curfew was duly followed after his announcement of the same in his first address on March 20,” a senior official told ET.

“Joint secretary (health) Lav Aggarwal and ICMR’s Balram Bhargava are the two concerned persons and hence they are the face of the government to hold daily briefings,” an official said.

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