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Coronavirus: Sonia writes to CMs of Cong-ruled states to ensure effective response

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New Delhi, Mar 6 : Congress president Sonia Gandhi has written to the chief ministers of all states ruled by the party, instructing them to put in place effective response measures to deal with the spread of coronavirus and lend all possible support to public healthcare responders.

So far, 31 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been detected in India.

“It is critical for the State Government to put in place effective response and preparedness measures. The capacity of public healthcare facilities must be augmented to respond to any potential outbreak,” Gandhi said in the letter to chief ministers of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Puducherry and Chhattisgarh.

“Increased disease surveillance, and strengthening the testing facilities could help early detection and containment.

“The State Government must lend all possible support to public healthcare responders to carry out their duty effectively,” she said.

The Congress president pointed out that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), especially for frontline health workers, and estimated that manufacturers must increase production by 40 per cent to meet requirements.

“I urge the State Government to ensure adequate supply of PPE, especially in public healthcare facilities, and initiate effective measures to prevent hoarding and black-marketing,” Gandhi said.

“It is equally important to strengthen the intensive care facilities to meet any potential contingency,” she added.

Given the rising number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India, protocols for contact identification and isolation must be put in place, the Congress leader said.

“Quarantine facilities, especially at points of entry, must be set up urgently. The State Government may also consider issuing advisories regarding avoiding large public gatherings. This may help contain community transmission.

“Lastly, public awareness campaigns are necessary to quell widespread misinformation. Communities must be educated regarding precautionary and preventive measures, including relevant hygiene and sanitation practices,” she said.

Gandhi suggested that the state governments could set up dedicated helplines in the local language and consider holding daily public briefings to apprise communities of the evolving situation, and address any unfounded fears.

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