As India entered the last week of the lockdown imposed to curb Coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday indicated that it could be extended further for the third time beyond May 17 after video conference with the chief ministers on ways to strengthen the COVID-19 containment strategy and stepping up of economic activities in a calibrated manner post the 54-day shutdown.
But some more restrictions may be eased this time in areas not affected much by the Coronavirus, reported NDTV.
PM Modi has asked the chief ministers to share by May 15 a broad strategy on how they want to deal with lockdown regime in their states.
“I request you all to share with me by May 15, a broad strategy on how each one of you would want to deal with the lockdown regime in your particular states. I want states to make a blueprint on how to deal with various nuances during and after gradual easing of the lockdown,” he said.
According to government sources many states have suggested for the extension of lockdown but only in areas most affected by the pandemic and asked for Red Zones to be changed from entire districts to just the area worst affected by COVID-19 outbreak.
The Chief Ministers of several states are in favour of opening up of economic activities in the states, while leaving aside the containment zones.
According to official statement, the chief ministers in their suggestions on reviving the economy have sought support to micro, small and medium enterprises, infrastructure projects such as power, easing of interest rates on loans and assured market access to agricultural produce.
“We now have reasonably clear indication as to the geographical spread of the pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas. Moreover, over the past few weeks, officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the district level,” PM Modi had said yesterday during the meeting with the CMs.
PM Modi also told the CMs that the central government was working to reopen the economy and due consideration will be given to their suggestions.
He also said that reduction of transmission rate of the novel coronavirus and gradual increase in public activities while adhering to all guidelines are the “twofold” challenges and now the Centre and states will have to work towards achieving the twin objectives.
Referring to the twin objectives, he said “We can now focus our strategy in this battle against coronavirus, as should be the case. We have a twofold challenge – to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually, while adhering to all the guidelines. We will have to work towards achieving both these objectives.”
PM had his last call with the state CMs on April 27 during which he discussed the ext plan for the second lockdown which ended on May 3. He had asked the state Chief Ministers to chalk out an exit plan by marking districts as red, orange and green zones to indicate the level and intensity of the COVID-19 infection.
With 3,604 coronavirus cases reported in the last 24 hours, the total number of infections Tuesday crossed the 70,000-mark to reach 70,756 including the 22,454 people who have been treated and discharged so far. The death toll also rose to 2,293. According to the Home Ministry, the recovery rate stands at 31.15 per cent.