Coronavirus outbreak: PM tells states to decide on easing of lockdown

Updated: Apr 28, 2020, 07:37 IST | Dharmendra Jore | Mumbai

Says pandemic is far from over and directs states to take a call depending on their respective situations on ground; stresses on revival of the economy

A road in the has been barricaded on Monday during the lockdown. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
A road in the has been barricaded on Monday during the lockdown. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

Ruling out lifting of lockdown after May 3 from across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked states to decide on their lockdown guidelines depending on the prevailing situation on the ground. He said the pandemic was far from over and hence the country needed a balance between the lockdown and the efforts of keeping normalcy in daily life.

Modi told chief ministers on Monday that the lockdown had yielded positive results and the country had managed to save thousands of lives in the past 45 days.

"Our aim must be rapid response, and 'do gaz doori' (physical distancing)," he said, adding that the states where positive cases were higher should not be treated as criminals.

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray is reported to have supported the lockdown where it is needed most. He also said on Sunday that the lockdown could be lifted after May 3 only if the situation allowed. Union Home Minister Amit Shah reaffirmed the need to enforce lockdown so that maximum lives were saved.

Amid rising concerns about a weakening economy, Modi said that efforts of states should be directed towards converting red zones into orange and thereafter to green zones.

"We have to be brave and bring in reforms that touch the lives of common citizens. We have to give importance to the economy as well as continue the fight against COVID-19. The impact of Coronavirus will remain visible in the coming months, masks and face covers will be part of our life," he said.

"India's population is comparable to that of the combined population of several countries. The situation in many countries, including India, was almost similar at the beginning of March. However, due to timely measures, India has been able to protect many people," the PM said, emphasising that the danger of the virus was far from over and constant vigilance was of paramount importance.

Cabinet meet tomorrow
He said, "This is the time we used technology as much as possible and utilised time to embrace reform measures," the PM said.

Sources said the Union cabinet would discuss the matter on Wednesday. In all likelihood, the decision on lifting or easing lockdown is expected to be announced at least four days before the deadline of May 3.

State home minister Anil Deshmukh who also participated in the CM's interaction with PM said in Nagpur that the red zones where higher cases of COVID existed would in probability continue to have lockdown."Orange and green zone may get lockdown relaxed and CM himself would announce about it," he said.

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