PM Modi conducts meeting with CMs to discuss lockdown exit strategy

PM Modi conducts meeting with CMs to discuss lockdown exit strategy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held a video conference with chief ministers to discuss the situation arising due to the coronavirus pandemic in the country, which has been under a lockdown since March 25 to contain the spread of the virus, amid indications that the interaction would also focus on a graded exit from the ongoing lockdown.

This is Modi’s fourth such interaction with state chief ministers since March 22 when he discussed 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 by 19 days on April 14, the last day of the initial three week shutdown, till May 3.

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.

Telangana had earlier become the first state to extend the lockdown until May 7. Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao said his government estimated that the infection would be contained and new cases minimised as a result of this move, citing surveys and personal interactions with a cross-section of people to back the decision. Bypassing Centre’s guidelines and recommendations, the state will not allow any relaxations from April 20 for any industry. The CM said that the current guidelines and rules will continue in the state till May 7. It was pointed out that as per the Epidemic Act of 1987, the state and the centre have equal powers.   

Times of India had earlier reported that five states—Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West, Bengal, Punjab and Odisha—were planning to extend curbs in hotspots of their respective states beyond May 3. The publication reported that Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka will follow the Centre’s directive, while Assam, Kerala and Bihar would take a call after conference with PM Modi held today.

The Maharashtra government had indicated plans to extend lockdown in the coronavirus-hit urban areas of the state after May 3, with the state government closely monitoring the situation in areas outside the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Nagpur, Aurangabad and Amravati. “It is the cities where most of the COVID-19 cases are concentrated. If the state has to relax its current stringent lockdown measures, it would be in rural and least affected areas of the state. However, we are looking at the scenario as rural and urban areas are connected,” an offical told PTI, adding that it was highly unlikely to lift the lockdown restrictions May 3 onwards in all parts of the state, the official said.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said a decision on whether or not to extend lockdown in red zones (which have large number of coronavirus cases) such as Mumbai and Pune regions will be taken later, he said. “It has to be seen if only containment areas in red zones should be sealed or the entire zone should be under lockdown. Decision will be taken after thorough deliberations,” the minister added.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had claimed that the COVID-19 situation is especially serious in major or emerging hotspots like Ahmedabad, Surat, Hyderabad, Chennai and Thane, as it rushed inter-ministerial central teams (IMCT) to monitor the situation in these cities. The assessment by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) came on a day when Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra said the number of COVID-19 patients in the Gujarat city may grow to eight lakh by the end of May if the current four-day period of doubling of the cases continues. So far, Ahmedabad city has reported 1,638 cases, the highest in Gujarat which accounted for over 2,800 infections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *