Coronavirus: Indian govt considering request from most states to extend lockdown by 2 weeks, say sources
The Indian government is considering a request made by most states to extend the ongoing nationwide lockdown by two more weeks beyond April 14, government sources said on Saturday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with the chief ministers.
"Most states requested to extend the lockdown by two weeks and the Centre is considering the request," a government source said.
During the video conference with Modi, several chief ministers, including Punjab's Amarinder Singh and Delhi's Arvind Kejriwal had suggested extending the lockdown at least by a fortnight.
The ongoing 21-day nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 crisis, announced by Modi on March 24, is scheduled to end on April 14.
Modi, accompanied by some senior officials, including from the Union health ministry, was wearing a white mask during the meeting which was also attended by chief ministers -- Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Manohar Lal (Haryana), K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana), and Nitish Kumar (Bihar).
Earlier on Thursday, Odisha became the first state to extend the lockdown till April 30 to effectively contain the spread of the novel virus.
"We have decided to extend the lockdown period till April 30 and a recommendation in this regard will be sent to the Centre," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in a video message. He said the state has also urged the Centre to stop train and flight services to Odisha till April 30.
Punjab also extended the lockdown to fight coronavirus up to May 1, becoming the second state after Odisha to do so, as its count of COVID-19 cases rose to 151 and the government feared that the outbreak is heading towards the community transmission stage.
"Given the seriousness of the situation arising out of #Covid19, Cabinet has decided to extend lockdown & curfew till 1st May. These are difficult times & I appeal to all to #StayHomeStaySafe & strictly observe health safeguards as you have done so far, for which I am thankful, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh tweeted.
(Edited by Suman Singh)