New Delhi: The prime minister, Narendra Modi, held a meeting with chief ministers of states, on Monday, where he hinted that the nationwide lockdown imposed to stop the transmission of the new coronavirus, Covid-19, will be extended. However, he also indicated that more curbs will go and getting the economy running was high on the government’s agenda.
This was the prime minister’s third interaction with the chief ministers via videoconferencing since the countrywide lockdown was imposed.
An official statement released on the meeting quoted Modi as saying, “I am of the firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the second phase and, similarly, the measures needed in the third phase are not needed in the fourth. 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.”
The prime minister said, “We have a two-fold challenge – to reduce the transmission of the virus and to gradually increase public activity – while sticking to all the (coronavirus-prevention) guidelines.”
Modi also said the focus now should be to stop the disease from spreading in rural areas. Hundreds of thousands of migrants, especially migrant workers, are still returning to their native villages from cities during the lockdown, many taking perilous trips home, including walking hundreds and sometimes thousands of kilometres on foot along with their small children and ailing family members.
During the meeting, some chief ministers, including Uddhav Thackeray and Nitish Kumar, favoured the extension of the lockdown. The Kerala chief minister, Pinarayi Vijayan, said states should be allowed to take a call on resuming some services, like public transport.
If the lockdown is extended, this would be the third time it would happen. The prime minister, who announced the first lockdown from March 25, himself announced its extension for the first time on April 14. The government announced the second lockdown extension on May 1.
India Covid-19 cases continue to surge
India continued to see a surge in new coronavirus cases even as the country is testing more than ever before. In the last 24 hours, India saw 3,607 new Covid-19 cases and 82 deaths resulting from it. The total number of coronavirus cases in the country has now crossed 70,000 and the death toll from the disease is nearly 2,300 now.
Maharashtra continued to report above 1,000 new cases for the sixth day running. Tamil Nadu also recorded a sharp increase in the number of cases with 789 fresh cases in a single day.
Meanwhile, the global number of coronavirus cases has crossed 4.24 million and the total number of people who died from it is now over 286,000.
Latest coronavirus India stats:
- Confirmed: 70,768
- Deaths: 2,294
- Recovered: 22,549
Latest worldwide coronavirus stats:
- Confirmed: 4,246,830
- Deaths: 286,740
- Recovered: 1,522,034
Top 5 countries with coronavirus infections:
- United States: 1,384,033
- Spain: 268,143
- United Kingdom: 223,060
- Russia: 221,344
- Italy: 219,814
Top 5 countries with coronavirus deaths are:
- United States: 81,703
- United Kingdom: 32,065
- Italy: 30,739
- Spain: 26,744
- France: 26,642
[This story was last updated at 4.30am on May 12, 2020.]