Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Monday said he will urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 cases in the country, reported Hindustan Times. The total number of Covid-19 cases in India rose to 4,281 on Monday evening and the toll reached 111 after both numbers saw their worst single-day spike.
“We can revive the economy of the country and the state at a later stage,” Rao said. “But we cannot bring back the lives of the people who could die in large numbers, if the lockdown is lifted. All the efforts we had put in all these days, braving financial loss, would go waste, if situation comes back to square one due to the lockdown being eased.”
At least two other states also hinted that the lockdown may not end by April 15. Maharashtra’s Health Minister Rajesh Tope said people must not remain under the impression that the lockdown will be lifted at the end of the 21-day period, which started on March 25. “The situation between April 10 and 15 will be closely analysed before taking a decision on the lockdown,” he said.
Maharashtra is the worst-hit state with 748 coronavirus cases, including 45 deaths, according to the Union health ministry’s latest update.
A senior Uttar Pradesh government official said that the lockdown must not be lifted on April 15 since the number of coronavirus cases in the country were on the rise, PTI reported. “Since the number of coronavirus cases has gone up markedly in the past couple of days, it would not be right to say that the lockdown will be lifted after April 14,” Uttar Pradesh Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi said, according to the news agency. “At this preliminary stage it is impossible to say if it will be lifted after April 14.”
Awasthi’s remarks came a day after Chief Minister Adityanath said the lockdown in the state will be lifted on April 15. The chief minister had asserted that a mechanism should be evolved to ensure crowding does not take place subsequently. Uttar Pradesh has 305 cases of the coronavirus, and three patients have died in the state.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami did not respond to a question about whether the lockdown in the state will be extended, The Hindu reported. Tamil Nadu has witnessed a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus cases and the total is now at 571.
Centre’s response to lockdown extension
Meanwhile, the Centre on Monday said that it was closely monitoring the situation across the world and would declare its decision on the lockdown at the right time. “Decisions are taken ultimately in nation’s and people’s interests,” Union minister Prakash Javadekar said during a media briefing. “That decision will be declared when the time is right.” He added that that an empowered group of officials is assessing the situation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a meeting with the Council of Ministers to discuss ways in which the nationwide lockdown to contain coronavirus could be lifted, according to The Hindu. “Prime Minister Modi asked all of us for suggestions, including after speaking to district-level officials and stakeholders on how the rollback of the lockdown could be effected without a huge impact on positive cases,” an unidentified minister told the newspaper. “Actually, the calculations for our peak cases and its timing are now awry as they have to factor in the Tablighi Jamaat cases, which are still being followed up.”
During a video conference with the chief ministers of all states last week, Modi had said that the Centre and states must have a “common exit strategy” for staggered re-entry of population after the three-week nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus.
The 21-day lockdown was announced by Modi on March 24.