As coronavirus cases surging up in India, many state governments and experts have requested to extend the lockdown that officially closing on 14th April. A succession of state governments such as Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab, and MP have in the past couple of days come out in favor of retaining all or most of the existing curbs. However, the center is yet to make a final decision on this.
Official sources said that the Centre is taking on board inputs from states and public health experts who believe that while the infection rate shows signs of stabilizing, there is a risk of resurgence if the gains made so far in containing the spread are not locked in.
KCR also cited reports of the Boston Consulting Group survey, which asked for ruthless measures like an extension of the lockdown till at least June. “I am appealing to the Prime Minister and Government of India to extend lockdown without hesitation. Lockdown is the only weapon we have to control the spread of this disease and avoid a situation which countries like the US, Spain, and Italy are facing,” he said at a news conference.
Eleven empowered committees formed to oversee India’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic have received feedback from states on the lockdown extension, say sources. These include a collapse of all kinds of religious activities, schools and colleges till June, transfers and postings in the government sector to be postponed for six months, closure of hotels, bars, and restaurants until the situation improves, and suspensions of public events like weddings, funerals, and corporate town hall meetings will continue.
However, the government hasn’t made any statement so far whether it is going to prolong the current lockdown or not. But the government sources have indeed confirmed that the Modi government is considering the requests to extend the shutdown, IANS reported.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said his government will extend lockdown if the need arises, while his counterpart in Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot said the state cannot withdraw the lockdown immediately, and it has to be done in a phased manner. In a statement to mark two weeks of lockdown, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said the next one week of the lockdown is “critical” for evolving an exit strategy as the data regarding the spread of coronavirus will have a bearing on the decision to be taken by the government.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown on March 24 to take precautionary measures to control the spread of the coronavirus.
India’s tally of COVID-19 positive cases rose to 5000 according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Out of the 5000 cases, 4,643 are active cases while 401 have been cured or discharged and one has migrated. The total death toll stands at 149.
(Source: Business Times, Livemint)