Centre mulls extension of COVID-19 lockdown on request from states
The Indian government is considering whether to extend the 21-day nationwide coronavirus lockdown after several state governments and experts requested the Centre in this regard, said sources on Tuesday. It is not clear yet whether the Union government has taken a final decision on this matter.
The Indian government is considering the extension of the 21-day nationwide coronavirus lockdown after several state governments and experts made requests in this regard, sources said on Tuesday (April 7). It is not clear yet whether the Union government has taken a final decision on this matter.
“A lot of state governments as well as experts are requesting central government to extend the lockdown. The central government is thinking in this direction,” a source said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the 21-day lockdown on March 24, which came into force from that midnight, in a bid to contain the spread of the virus that has already claimed 114 lives in the country.
A day earlier, the prime minister had asked the citizens of the country to prepare for a long battle against the pandemic. Modi exhorted people to not feel tired or defeated and expressed confidence that India will emerge victorious in this fight.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar had said the decision on lifting the lockdown will be taken “at the right time” and that it will be in the national interest.
Several state governments had earlier pitched for extending the lockdown, including Telangana and Rajasthan.
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao said on Monday he requested the prime minister for an extension of the lockdown. “We need to save lives, we can save the economy later…We have no other option but lockdown for a country like ours,” he reportedly said.
His Rajasthan counterpart, Ashok Gehlot, echoed similar views on Tuesday and said saving lives is important and no step should be taken that would endanger lives. He also favoured a phased withdrawal of the lockdown, saying it cannot be done immediately after the 21-day period ends.
“We cannot withdraw lockdown immediately. It has to be done in a phased manner, that is what I feel,” Gehlot said when asked about the right time is to lift the countrywide lockdown over coronavirus, reported news agency PTI.
In Uttar Pradesh, a top official echoed a similar view and said it is impossible to say if the lockdown in the state will be lifted after April 14. “If even one case remains, lifting it would not be right as the entire work done so far to control the virus would go in vain,” said Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi.
During a video conference last week, Prime Minister Modi had asked the chief ministers to formulate a common strategy for the staggered re-emergence of population after the lockdown if lifted. So far, 4,421 positive cases have been reported in the country including 114 deaths.
(With inputs from agencies)