The Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday directed all states and union territories to set up a round the clock control room for helping the providers of goods and services during the 21 days of lockdown announced by the Centre to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

“In order to ensure that these provisions are seamlessly available at ground level it would be necessary for each state/UT to set-up a 24*7 control room/office with helplines (at state/district level) to address any grievance or undue problems faced by the providers of goods/services including during inter-state movement,” the advisory issued by MHA on Tuesday to Chief Secretaries and police chiefs of all states and union territories read.

The MHA advisory added that a ‘Standard operating protocol’ (SOP) might be necessary to ensure unhindered operation of the ‘essential services/ establishments and commodities including the appointment of nodal officers at inter-state borders, issue of vehicular passes/e passes etc”

This comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a 21-day lockdown in the entire country effective from midnight to deal with the spread of coronavirus, saying that “social distancing” is the only option to deal with the disease, which spreads rapidly.

In a televised address to the nation, Prime Minister Modi said that it is vital to break the chain of the disease and experts have said that at least 21 days are needed for it.

The Prime Minister, who had also addressed the nation last week, said the lockdown has drawn a “Lakshman Rekha” in every home and people should stay indoors for their own protection and for that of their families.