COVID-19 awareness campaign aims to reach out to 90 crore people

Communication strategy developed in view of approaching winter season and festivals

The awareness campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 8 on wearing masks, maintaining safe distance and hand and face hygiene to combat COVID-19, aims to reach out to about 90 crore people, said Information & Broadcasting Ministry Secretary Amit Khare on Tuesday.

The first phase of campaign will be run intensively for two months and will continue till March.

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The communication strategy has been developed in view of the coming winter season, which is conducive to the spread of respiratory viruses, the approaching festivals like Dasara, Diwali, Christmas and New Year, and the gradual opening up of economic and other activities.

More than 30 Union Ministers, including the Home Minister and the Defence Minister, 15 Governors and Chief Ministers and about 500 other influencers from various fields, sportsmen, industrialists and film personalities, have come forward to participate in the campaign.

Among the key Ministries are Health, Railways, Rural Development, Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Housing and Urban Affairs and Department of Posts.

Public sector units, frontline workers, NGOs, FM and community radio stations, industrial bodies, para-military forces and the police are also being involved. AV displays at railway stations, airports and government offices are being used to disseminate messages. DD News has also launched the “Mask-up India” campaign.

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Thanking the State governments, Mr. Khare said several Chief Ministers had already launched similar campaigns on Gandhi Jayanti. He also urged the media to spread awareness.

“We have permitted the schools to open up, SOPs for colleges are also coming and from October 15, even the cinema halls will be open in many places.” He said with the opening up of economy in various sectors, it was important to take precautionary steps.

During the ‘lockdown’ period, the government spread the “stay home, stay safe” message and during the first three ‘unlock’ phases, the primary focus was on “Aatmnirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India).

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The latest campaign, for which the Central and all the State governments have come together, will also see participation of frontline workers, “anganwadi workers”, ASHAs and panchayat sevaks.

Based on the database available with the Central government, the campaign will target beneficiaries of various schemes, including MGNREGA, PM Awas, PM-Kisan and Ujjawala Yojana. The private sector industries and trade associations will also be roped in.

In the run-up to the campaign, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting on September 29, which was followed by the Cabinet Secretary’s meetings with the NITI Aayog, the Secretaries of the co-ordinating Ministries and the Chief Secretaries. The I&B Secretary also held discussions with the regional units and the department publicity officers.

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The Prime Minister then launched the campaign through a tweet hashtagged “Unite2FightCorona”, which garnered 2.33 billion impressions and trended at various positions on Twitter. The COVID-19 pledge was administered in almost 500 Central government offices.

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