By Krishnan Nayar New Delhi, August 11, 2020 — India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi today unveiled a “72-hour formula” to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections, which he said are now limited to 10 states that account for 80 percent of cases. India has 28 states and eight Union territories. The new formula imposes responsibility on Indian citizens who are repatriated from abroad, many of whom come from the GCC area. Modi’s formula urges health workers across the country to track and test anyone who came into contact with an infected person within 72 hours. “This should be followed like a mantra, with the same seriousness as washing hands, preserving social deprivation, wearing masks, etc.,” he told the chief ministers of the ten states critical of the fight against COVID-19. The meeting took place via videoconferencing to “discuss and plan ahead the current situation in order to combat the coronavirus pandemic,” according to a selection of the interaction by the Prime Minister’s office. Modi expressed confidence that “if the virus is defeated in these 10 states, the whole country will emerge victorious in the fight against COVID-19.”
The 10 states responsible for the vast majority of infections are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. He said containment, contact tracking and surveillance are the most effective weapons in this fight. “Experts now say that if we identify COVID-19 cases within 72 hours of the start, then the infection will slow down to a great extent.” This was Modi’s seventh such interaction with chief ministers on the challenge of fighting the pandemic. The new responsibilities under the 72-hour formula for the repatriation of Indian citizens from abroad and other arriving passengers came into force at Indian airports on Saturday. Accordingly, all arriving passengers from abroad must submit a self-notification form on the online portal of the landing airport at least 72 hours before their scheduled journey. Details of the declaration are available on the airport’s website. Passengers should undertake to undergo a mandatory quarantine on the portal for 14 days. Of these, seven days will be quarantined in certain facilities paid for by passengers. This is followed by a commitment to isolation at home for a week with self-monitoring health conditions. Under certain conditions, rare exceptions have been provided.