Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a video conference with chief ministers to discuss the situation arising due to COVID-19 in the country, which is under a 40-day lockdown since March 25 to contain the pandemic, even as Meghalaya said it will continue with the shutdown post May 3 with relaxations in 'Green Zones' or non-COVID-19 affected districts.
This is PM Modi's fourth such interaction with state chief ministers since March 22 when he first spoke to them on the coronavirus situation and steps taken - both by the Centre and the states - to contain the pandemic. Two days later on March 24, Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. He extended the lockdown till May 3 on April 14, the last day of the initial three-week shutdown.
Among those present at the virtual meet, included Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and top officials from the PMO and Union Health Ministry.
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The chief ministers who attended the meeting included Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), EK Palaniswami (Tamil Nadu), Conrad Sangma (Meghalaya), Trivendra Singh Rawat (Uttarakhand) and Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh).
"At the video conference called by the hon'ble PM Modiji and hon'ble Home Minister Shahji. 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.
The prime minister was wearing a white 'gamcha' (Indian stole for men) with green border. He has been using 'gamcha' to cover his face during such meets.
Sources in the government had on Sunday indicated that besides discussing the way forward in dealing with the pandemic, the prime minister and chief ministers could also focus on a "graded" exit from the lockdown.
In a tweet on Monday, the Prime Minister's Office said Modi and the chief ministers will be discussing aspects related to the COVID-19 situation.
In his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio address on Sunday, the prime minister said the country is in the middle of a 'yudh' (war) and asserted that people have to continue being careful and take precautions.
His note of caution came amidst gradual exemptions being granted by the Centre and states to revive economic activities.
"I urge you not to get overconfident. You should in your over-enthusiasm not think that if the coronavirus has not yet reached your city, village, street or office, it is not going to reach now. Never make such a mistake. The experience of the world tells us a lot in this regard," Modi said while referring to a popular Hindi idiom 'Sawdhani hati, durghatna ghati' (disaster strikes when you lower your concentration).
The Centre and the state governments have been giving gradual exemptions to boost economic activities as also to provide relief to people as some states want further relaxation in areas which have seen few or no coronavirus cases.
(Edited by Javed Gaihlot)
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