Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur today said lockdown should continue beyond May 3 to curb the spread of coronavirus, an official spokesperson said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier held a video conference with chief ministers to discuss the situation arising due to COVID-19 in the country, which is under a 40-day lockdown since March 25 to contain the pandemic.
Supporting the lockdown extension, Mr Thakur said the restrictions on movement of people should continue as COVID-19 cases are still emerging.
"The lockdown should be extended after May 3 to check the spread of novel coronavirus," he said.
The chief minister, however, said states should be allowed to resume economic activities particularly in the green zones.
PM Modi lauded the state for effective implementation of Active Case Finding (ACF) campaign which has helped in screening the entire population of the state for any influenza like illness (ILI) symptoms.
He urged all states to follow Himachal Pradesh in this initiative to combat the pandemic of novel coronavirus, the spokesperson said. The chief minister apprised the prime minister that the 70 lakh population of the state was checked for ILI under the ACF campaign.
"All ILI patients are being tested for COVID-19. Various teams of 16,000 officials, including ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers, paramedics and police, visit door-to-door under the campaign," he said.
Mr Thakur said pharmaceutical units in the state have started functioning.
"The pharma units are leaving no stone unturned to fulfill the requirement of hydroxychloroquine in the country as well as the world. Almost 80 per cent pharma units fall under the sector of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME), therefore, the Union government should provide all possible help to ensure smooth supply of chemicals and raw materials," he said.
The senior BJP leader also said that the state government has constituted a task force to restart economic activities in the state. He noted that lakhs of domestic and foreign tourists visit the state every year, but the pandemic has completely ruined the tourism industry in the state.
The chief minister also talked about the apple trade in the state. He said apple trade is an important factor of the state's economy and called for adequate facility for smooth transportation of apples.
Mr Thakur informed PM Modi that six of the total 12 districts of the state fall under "green zone" as not even a single case of coronavirus has been reported in these districts.
About the current status of COVID-19 cases in the hill state, he said 10 active cases are being treated here and 20 patients have been cured from the disease. He also urged PM Modi to provide adequate number of ventilators to the state to meet any eventuality.
He added that COVID-19 testing ratio in the state is 700 per million population, one of the highest in the country.