New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with chief ministers via video conference this afternoon to discuss the way forward amid the lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed 239 and infected over 7,400 in India. He is likely to take feedback from the chief ministers on whether the three-week lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus would end on Tuesday.
Odisha and Punjab have already announced an extension of the lockdown. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the pandemic that originated from China in December “is the biggest threat that the human race has faced in more than a century”. “Life will not be the same ever,” Mr Patnaik said on Thursday.
The Bihar government in a letter to the centre has raised no objection to extending the lockdown; however, it wants an exception for rural construction and flood relief work to continue, sources have told news agency. Bihar saw massive floods last year and rebuilding projects are still going on.
In his last video conference with chief ministers on April 2, PM Modi said the centre and states must have a common plan to ensure staggered movement of people after the national lockdown ends. He said it “can’t be business as usual” after the lockdown and certain safeguards would have to be taken, according to a government statement.
Sources say the lockdown may be extended but with many changes this time around. Interstate movement will remain restricted, except for essential services. Schools, colleges and religious institutions are likely to stay closed.
Given the massive economic fallout of the prolonged shutdown, some sector specific relaxation is likely to be allowed, sources say, with social distancing norms.
Other countries that have experimented with easing lockdowns in a staggered manner have been cautious about re-emergence of the novel coronavirus in areas declared free of COVID-19.
China’s Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in December, is waking from its coronavirus nightmare and loosening tight restrictions on movement and businesses. But full recovery remains hampered by fear of a potential new wave of infections.
Many businesses and all schools are still closed, restaurants aren’t allowed dine-in customers, and some neighbourhoods remain sealed off behind barriers, news agency AFP reported.
Source By NDTV