Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday extended the lockdown to rein in the coronavirus pandemic till April 30, ANI reported. This is the first state to extend the 21-day lockdown, which was supposed to end on April 15. The state has 42 coronavirus cases so far, according to the health ministry data.
The chief minister also requested the Centre not to start train and air services to the state till April 30. He added that schools and educational institutions in the state will remain closed till June 17.
“Coronavirus is the biggest threat that the human race has faced in more than a century,” Patnaik said in a statement, according to NDTV. “Life will not be the same ever. All of us must understand this and face it boldly together. With our sacrifice and with the blessing of Lord Jagannath, this too shall pass.”
This came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a meeting of parliamentary floor leaders that the lockdown may have to be extended after April 14. He, however, noted that he would consult the chief ministers before deciding the exit strategy. Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Misra had told PTI that Modi made it clear in the meeting that lockdown will not be lifted in one go.
The chief ministers of several states have either favoured the lifting of the lockdown in a phased manner or an extension as the number of coronavirus cases in India continued to rise.
The number of confirmed cases in India rose to 5,734 with 166 deaths, said the health ministry. In the last 24 hours, India has reported 570 new infections and 17 deaths.