Fight against COVID-19 now on prevention, awareness: Jitendra Singh

New Delhi, Jun 3 (PTI) Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Wednesday said the country's focus in the current phase of fight against coronavirus is mainly on prevention and awareness and for these the role of civic bodies is very vital.

Interacting with representatives of municipal bodies of Jammu and Kashmir through video conference, Singh, the Union minister for PMO, also said the need of the hour is to follow the 'mantra' of 'awareness, not anxiety'.

For this, the elected representatives of municipal bodies, who are the grassroot leaders, can play a convincing role by making people understand the importance of exercising precaution without panic, he said.

Singh, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir, said the main consideration in earlier two phases of fight against COVID-19 was to arrange essential supplies for people held up in different parts of the country and ensure their free movement to their respective homes.

However, in the current phase, the focus is on two issues -- prevention and awareness -- and for fulfilling these two objectives, the role of the local bodies and their representatives is very important, he said.

The minister said there is a need to make people understand that even though the number of coronavirus cases is high, this is to a great extent because of mass screening and more number of samples being tested, a press release said.

Otherwise, he said, the percentage prevalence and death rate have remained almost same over the last ten weeks.

Singh said municipal bodies should continue with fumigation, maintenance of cleanliness, hygiene, social distancing and the district administration has been directed to keep the municipal bodies on board in planning and execution of all COVID-19 related activities.

The heads of the municipal bodies appreciated the regular contact with them maintained by the minister and his office on day-to-day basis.

They brought to the notice of Singh that the release of funds to the local bodies had got delayed.

The minister appreciated the role played by the municipal bodies and civil society during the coronavirus pandemic and assured them that he is personally following up for closer coordination amongst all.

During the two-hour-long meeting, those who presented their views included mayor of Jammu Municipal Corporation Chandra Mohan Gupta, deputy mayor of Jammu Municipal Corporation Purnima Sharma, mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation Junaid Azim Mattoo and deputy mayor of Srinagar Municipal Corporation Parvej Quadri, the release said.

In addition, chairmen of the municipal bodies of Billawar, Basholi, Hiranagar, Bhaderwah, Doda, Vijaypur, Kupwara, Baramulla, Anantnag, Chenani, Ramgarh, Parole, Batote and others also participated in the interaction, it said. PTI ACB AAR