Prime Minister Modi extends coronavirus lockdown till May 3

PM Narendra Modi lauds country’s cooperation and extends coronavirus lockdown till May 3. States will ensure strict enforcement of lockdown regulations till April 20, and there could be an easing depending on the situation after that.

Will he, won’t he? Those were the two questions on India’s mind, as citizens readied for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third address amid the coronavirus lockdown. And PM Modi did what most of the country was expecting him to, announcing that the 21-day countrywide lockdown would be extended till May 3.

India's COVID-19 tally has crossed the 10,000 mark with over 300 deaths, and Modi exhorted people to follow the lockdown strictly to contain the spread of coronavirus.

PM Modi said, keeping in mind all suggestions, it had been “decided that the nationwide lockdown would be extended until May 3. This means we all will have to stay indoors in a lockdown, with the same discipline and resolve we have shown so far”.

Lauding the people of India, he reiterated the fact that “we, the people” were in this together and needed to stay in lockdown mode to keep the nation healthy and safe.

The extension of the lockdown was on expected lines as states like Odisha, Maharashtra, and Telangana had already announced extensions till April 30.

PM Modi said there would be strict enforcement of lockdown regulations till April 20, and there could be some easing after this date, depending on the situation in each state. He said coronavirus continued to spread fast and there needed to be stricter enforcement of lockdown, especially in areas designated as hotspots. There will be constant review on the ground-level situation of these hotspots.

Social distancing the only way out

Acknowledging the difficulties faced by the people, the prime minister commended their behaviour. “Social distancing and lockdown has been very beneficial for the country, and was the right decision,” he said.

Modi said the performance of the country in controlling the spread of coronavirus had been “commendable” when compared to other developed nations.

 “If we had not taken a holistic and integrated approach at the correct time, we cannot imagine what our situation would have been.”

He also focused on also the economic price that the country had to face due to the lockdown. “From an economic point of view, it has been an expensive decision, but this does not compare when it comes to people’s lives,” he said.

Modi was categorical that there would be no shortage of food or medicines, and there was ample stock. He felt quarantine restrictions on people returning to India from abroad and measures taken by various chief ministers had been effective in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

The prime minister exhorted citizens to follow a seven-point guideline to overcome the coronavirus challenge: taking care of elderly in the family, use of home-made masks, helping the poor and needy, organisations taking care of employees, respecting medical fraternity/coronavirus warriors, following the guidelines of Ayush Ministry to boost immunity, and downloading the Aarogya Setu app.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)