Addressing the press, Lav Agarwal, joint secretary health ministry asserted that social distancing and lockdown have been proving crucial in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.

Apprising about the current situation, Agarwal said that in last 28 days, 15 districts have had no new case and India’s recovery rate stands at 20.57%. Besides these heartening numbers, now there are 80 districts in the country that have reported no new cases in last 14 days, he added.

To examine lockdown violations, social distancing norms and attacks on medical professionals, the union home ministry has also set up four additional Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT). With these additions, now there are 10 Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) constituted specifically to bolster government’s efforts against Covid-19. Each team will be headed by an Additional Secretary – level officer and will be sent to Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad & Chennai.

The ministry had sent the six previous teams to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal to review the implementation of the lockdown measures after making ground assessment of the situation prevailing in select districts.

Two of these teams have been sent to West Bengal — one team to Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and East Medinipur and the other to Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong.

The teams comprise public health specialists and officers of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), whose expertise can be leveraged by the state government for management of COVID-19 pandemic.

The teams were deputed under the authority conferred on the Central government under Section 35 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 which states that “..the central government shall take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of Disaster Management”.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Gram Panchayats from across the country on the occasion of Panchayati Raj Day and lauded the efforts of villagers in maintaining social distancing and said that it is because of their efforts that the world is taking note of India’s response to Covid-19.

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