Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a meeting with chief ministers via a video-conference to discuss the post-lockdown strategy to deal with the coronavirus crisis. During the meeting, the prime minister said the nationwide lockdown to control Covid-19 had showed positive results and also emphasised on the need to give importance to the economy.

“The prime minister underlined that the lockdown has yielded positive results as the country has managed to save thousands of lives in the past one and a half months,” a statement from the prime minister’s office said.

“The [Covid-19] situation in many countries, including India, was almost similar at the start of March,” Modi’s office quoted him as saying. “However, due to timely measures, India has been able to protect many people. He [the prime minister] however forewarned that the danger of the virus is far from over and constant vigilance is of paramount importance.”

The prime minister directed the chief ministers to strictly enforce lockdown guidelines in hotspot areas, his office said. Modi told the states that they must work towards converting red zones [with a high number of Covid-19 cases] into orange and eventually green zones.

Modi said the impact of the coronavirus pandemic will be long-lasting. “Reiterating the mantra of ‘do gaz doori [six feet apart]’, he [the prime minister] said that masks and face covers will become part of our lives in the days ahead,” the statement from Modi’s office said.

The prime minister also stressed on the need to focus on the economy amid the escalating health crisis. “The Prime Minister said that we have to give importance to the economy as well as continue the fight against COVID -19,” Modi’s office stated.

At the meeting, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma suggested an extension to the nationwide lockdown, with relaxations in only non-hotspot places. “At the video-conference called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, we have mooted to continue with the lockdown post May 3rd with relaxation on activities in green zones or non-Covid-affected districts in Meghalaya,” Sangma tweeted after the meeting.

Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said that his counterparts from BJP-ruled states also asked for the lockdown to be extended, ANI reported.

India has reported 27,892 coronavirus cases and 824 deaths so far, according to the health ministry’s Monday morning update.