Union Home Minister Amit Shah met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to discuss the lockdown strategy as India saw its biggest spike in Coronavirus cases with 7,466 infections in 24 hours.
His meeting with the Prime Minister comes a day after Shah on Thursday evening asked Chief Ministers for feedback on the lockdown and their views on whether to extend it after May 31.
During the meeting, Shah reportedly briefed PM Modi about the suggestions and the feedback he received from the chief ministers during his telephonic conversations.
“It is understood that majority of the chief ministers wanted the lockdown to continue in some form but also favoured opening up of the economic activities and gradual return of the normal life”, an official was quoted as saying by PTI.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawat, while speaking to news agency ANI, said that he spoke to the Home Minister on phone and demanded that the lockdown must be extended for another 15 days but with some relaxations such as reopening of restaurants at 50 per cent capacity with social distancing norms in place.
Sawant also opined that gyms could be allowed to open.
He, however, stressed that the lockdown must be extended for another 15 days with the spike in Coronavirus cases.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel reiterated in talks held with Home Minister Amit Shah that borders of states should not be opened. He also requested to consider views of CMs on train and flight services and ease borrowing condition for states under the economic package.
As lockdown 4.0 comes to an end on the midnight of May 31, Amit Shah dialled up all Chief Ministers on Thursday evening, asking them about the future of lockdown.
Shah wanted to know whether the lockdown should be further extended or not. He heard the apprehensions of different states about further opening up the economy.
States like West Bengal were initially apprehensive about large scale migrants reaching the state when Shramik Special trains were started.
Punjab Chief Minister had said that he would decide on extending the lockdown on May 31 while Haryana on Thursday once again sealed its borders with Delhi.
When lockdown 4.0 kicked in, the MHA had said: “A limited number of activities will continue to remain prohibited throughout the country. These include all domestic and international air travel of passengers.”
However, halfway through it, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri surprised everyone by conditionally restarting domestic flight operations.
The 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed from March 25 was to end on April 14. However, it was extended to May 3, then to May 17 and subsequently till May 31.
Meanwhile, Coronavirus cases in India have crossed 1.65 lakh-mark as the toll surged to 1,65,799 including 4,706 deaths and 71,106 recovered, according to health ministry’s figures released on Friday.
With this massive spike in Coronavirus infections, India has emerged as the ninth worst-hit country in the world by pandemic. India has also surpassed China’s reported death toll of 4,638.