Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday announced to set up a COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to deal with the situation arising out of novel Coronavirus pandemic.
"Keeping in mind the economic challenges arising out of the Coronavirus epidemic, the government has decided to constitute COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force led by the Finance Minister. This task force will also ensure that all steps are taken to reduce the economic difficulties and execute them effectively," Modi said in his address to the nation.
He said that the task force will remain in regular touch with all stakeholders, take their feedback and make decisions accordingly.
Sectors ranging from tourism to aviation to certain segments have been battered as countries closed borders, restricted air travel and industries went into emergency lockdowns.
He also appealed to the trading community as well as the affluent to look after the interest of their employees and not penalise them for being unable to attend work due to travel and other restrictions.
While the aviation industry has been hit hard by suspension of flights on certain sectors and travels bans, hotels and tourism sector has suffered due to cancellations.
Modi appealed to citizens to follow 'Janta curfew' on March 22 in the view of Coronavirus outbreak.
"I am seeking one more support from every countrymen today. This is a public curfew. Janta curfew means for the public, curfew imposed by the public on its own. Every citizen must follow Janta curfew on this Sunday, March 22, from 7 am to 9 pm," the Prime Minister said.
The total number of positive cases of COVID-19 in India stands at 167, including 25 foreigners. Four deaths (one each) have been reported in Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab and Maharashtra," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement.
(With agency inputs)