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Centre considering extension of lockdown beyond Apr 14: Reports

Centre considering extension of lockdown beyond Apr 14: Reports

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 07 Apr 2020, 10:53 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: After several states sought an extension of the 21-day lockdown in India beyond April 14 to combat the spread of novel Coronavirus, the Centre is considering the appeal, media reports quoting top government sources revealed on Tuesday evening.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who announced the lockdown on March 24, had on Monday indicated that people must be prepared for the long haul to fight against the spread of the highly contagious virus.

In the Cabinet meeting too, he has asked his ministers to come up with "graded plans" to manage the crisis which many are suggesting as an indication of extension of the lockdown.

While the Centre had earlier ruled out any such possibility, it seems that it has taken consideration of the proposal owing to the high surge in the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the past week.

India has 4,400 coronavirus cases at present with 114 deaths. As many as 508 new cases were recorded in the past 24 hours including 13 deaths.

The infection rate has slowed down from Monday, which witnessed a record high with the number of cases touching 708 in a single day.

Worryingly, John Hopkins University's Coronavirus live tracking map has reported that the total number of positive cases in India to be 5172 with 137 deaths.

Speaking to media after the meeting, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said that a decision would be taken "in the national interest" at the right time.

"We are monitoring the world situation every minute. A decision will be taken in the national interest. A decision in this regard will be declared at the right time," Javadekar told media, adding that an empowered group of officials was assessing the situation.

This comes as several Indians states are seeking an extension of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 at a time India is witnessing a surge in positive cases.

The lockdown, which was called Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Mar 24 night, is scheduled to end at Apr 14 midnight.

Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said he was in favour of the extension of the lockdown to save the lives.

"We can recover from the economic problem. But, we cannot get back lives," Rao told media.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, "We can bear the lockdown. We can also revive economy but we cannot get back the lost lives."

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot is also in favour of the extension of the lockdown.

However, the Centre had earlier ruled out any possibility of the extension of lockdown.

Modi had asked the Chief Ministers to formulate a strategy for an exit from the lockdown in phases ensuring the staggered movement of people post Apr 14 midnight.

While experts are fearing that the surge in the number of cases would overwhelm the poor health infrastructure of India, the Modi government has struggled to address the crisis of migrant workers who took to their feet to cross state borders to reach their homes in remote villages or towns.

Despite repeated assurances of sufficient food supply by the Centre and respective state governments, migrant workers were spotted boarding buses in large numbers blowing the idea of social distancing out of the window.

Several migrant workers including their kin have lost their lives in their efforts to reach home during the lockdown which has exempted essential services like grocery shops, pharmacies, banks, ATMs and media.

In another heart-breaking incident, an 11-year old boy in Bihar's Bhojpur area reportedly died out of hunger due to the strict enforcement of the lockdown. 

In major cities too, the idea of social distancing went for a toss as long queues with huge number of people were a familiar picture outside the grocery shops though the governments have repeatedly said no to hoarding. 


Centre considering extension of lockdown beyond Apr 14: Reports

India Blooms News Service
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