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Published On: Tue, Apr 14th, 2020

India Extends Nationwide Lockdown Amid Corona-Covid-19 Pandemic

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modiJPGNEW DELHI :Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced that the current lockdown will be extended till May 3. In a televised address to the nation, Modi said implementation of the lockdown will be strictly ensured in coming days to ensure that the virus does not spread to new areas.

Modi said the extension of the lockdown is very necessary to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country. Some relaxations may be allowed after April 20 in places where there is no hotspot, he said. Several states have already extended the lockdown till April 30. The prime minister said detailed guidelines on the implementation of the new lockdown will be announced on Wednesday.
“After taking into account all suggestions, we have decided to extend the lockdown till May 3,” PM Modi said in his 25-minute address shortly after India crossed the 10,000-mark in COVID-19 cases.

“Till April 20, each district, each state will be monitored closely to see whether the lockdown is being followed. Then we can decide on relaxing the restrictions,” said the PM, who used a traditional red and white “gamcha” as a mask before beginning his address.

Some essential activities could be allowed after April 20 in parts of the country that showed some improvement in fighting the infection, he explained.  “We absolutely must ensure that this virus does not spread to any further parts of the country. We must ensure that new hotspots do not spring up.”
India has 10,363 COVID-19 cases and there have been 339 deaths, according to the latest Health Ministry data.

India was in much better shape than many major countries in the fight against coronavirus, said the Prime Minister. “If the country had not taken a holistic, integrated approach and had not acted fast, then it is frightening to think what it would have been like today,” he said.
Asserting the need for a strict lockdown to ensure that COVID-19 did not spread to a single new area, the PM said citizens had persevered and confronted every difficulty to ensure that India was ahead in the fight against the virus. “The power of ‘We The People Of India’ has been seen in the country during the lockdown,” he said.
He also put out a seven-point charter for people to follow, which included social distancing, taking care of the elderly and the poor, protecting jobs and preventing attacks on doctors and other frontline COVID-19 workers.
PM Modi offered no immediate economic package but said he felt the pain of “our poor brothers and sisters”, with thousands of families struggling for food and many migrant workers unable to reach their villages.
Some ministries like Commerce and Industries suggested that select sectors be allowed to reopen with reasonable safeguards to protect wages and to boost economic activity.Despite the extension, Modi said some Indian states that have largely avoided an outbreak may be allowed to resume “important activities” before May 3.

Following Modi’s address, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation tweeted that all domestic and international flights will be halted until May 3. Additionally, the country’s Ministry of Railways tweeted that all passenger train services on the country’s railways will also be canceled until May 3.
The PM said social distancing and the lockdown had been immensely beneficial in the fight to control the rapid spread of the virus. “Yes, economically, we have paid a great price for it, but from the point of view of saving human lives, it has been a significant step,” he said.
(With Agency Inputs).



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