The World Health Organisation on Tuesday praised the efforts taken by India to rein in the coronavirus pandemic after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the ongoing nationwide lockdown till May 3, PTI reported.

The organisation’s South-East Asia Regional Director Poonam Khetrapal Singh said India has been demonstrating “unwavering commitment” in the fight to tackle the spread of the coronavirus. “It may be early to talk about results in numbers, but a six-week nationwide lockdown to facilitate effective physical distancing, coupled with the expansion of core public health measures such as detection, isolation and tracing contact of coronavirus positive people, would go a long way in arresting the virus spread,” she added.

Singh lauded the country’s “tough and timely” actions, while urging everyone to contribute together to contain the pandemic. “In these testing times, the action lies as much with the communities as with the authorities and the health workforce,” she said.

Addressing the nation on Tuesday morning, Modi said that while the efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak were keeping the situation under control, it was not time to relax one’s guard and that the economic cost “may appear big, but is not so when compared to the lives of our citizens”. He added that the lockdown restrictions will be made even tougher till April 20 to stop the increase in the number of hotspots.

The prime minister said that Indians had displayed exceptional discipline and resolve during the lockdown and managed to keep the number of cases at a level that was favourable compared to several rich countries. A detailed guideline on the contours of this extended lockdown will be issued by the government on Wednesday, Modi added.

The number of people infected with coronavirus in India has reached 10,815, with 353 deaths.

On Monday, the World Health Organisation had said the Covid-19 pandemic was 10 times deadlier than the virus responsible for the 2009 flu pandemic.

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