The task force will be led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
The task force will remain in regular touch with all stakeholders, take their feedback and make decisions accordingly
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced the formation of a COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to deal with the situation arising out of novel coronavirus outbreak.
"Keeping in mind the economic challenges arising out of the coronavirus epidemic, the government has decided to constitute COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force led by the Finance Minister. This task force will also ensure that all steps are taken to reduce the economic difficulties and execute them effectively," Modi said in his address to the nation.
He said that the task force will remain in regular touch with all stakeholders, take their feedback and make decisions accordingly.
The Prime Minister requested the citizens to avoid visiting hospitals for routine check ups. "If you have an appointment for any non-essential surgery, please postpone for one month. We should keep in mind that pressure should not come on hospitals," he said.
"Postpone elective surgeries by a month, avoid routine check-ups to ease pressure on health services," the Prime Minister added.
Modi also said that people should not create panic buying essential commodities.
"I appeal to all not to go into panic buying to store essential commodities. Steps are being taken to ensure that there is no scarcity of essential commodities," he said.
Modi appealed to citizens to follow 'Janta curfew' on March 22 in the view of coronavirus outbreak.
"I am seeking one more support from every countrymen today. This is a public curfew. Janta curfew means for the public, curfew imposed by the public on its own. Every citizen must follow Janta curfew on this Sunday, March 22, from 7 am to 9 pm," the Prime Minister said.
"If possible, please call at least 10 people every day and tell them about the 'Janta curfew' as well as the measures to prevent coronavirus," he added.
The Prime Minister also requested senior citizens to remain indoors for the next few weeks.
"Social distancing is extremely important and effective in reducing the impact of coronavirus. All senior citizens in our family should not get out of houses. I request all people in the country to get out of the house only when it is extremely necessary, try and do all work from home," he said.
Modi also said that no definite solution has been found and no vaccine has been developed yet to deal with coronavirus.
The total number of positive cases of COVID-19 in India stands at 167, including 25 foreigners. Four deaths (one each) have been reported in Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement.
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