PM Modi to Announce Decision of Extending Nationwide Lockdown on Sunday Evening

On April 12, the Prime Minister will again speak to people across the country and reveal whether or not the current 21-day PAN-India lockout will be extended beyond April 14.

In the last few days, India has seen a severe increase in the number of cases of coronavirus. The country has reported 508 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking the number to 4,789. The death toll increased to 124, health ministry data revealed.

An ultimate decision on the lockdown will indeed be made when Modi interacts via videoconferencing with chief ministers of all states on Saturday. There were reports that the central government is concentrating on expanding the lockdown throughout the country after many states have also called for it to contain the rapidly spreading virus.

However, the lockout could come with some sector-specific relaxations as a prolonged shutdown would have significant economic consequences if extended.

The three-week lockdown declared on Mach 24 by PM Narendra Modi, is scheduled to end on April 14. However, with the number of cases showing a steady rise in coronavirus, several states, including BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, have indicated they’d prefer an extension.

Odisha had been the first state to extend the lockdown until April 30, just two days ahead of Modi’s meeting with chief ministers on Thursday.

Other CMs, namely K Chandrashekar Rao of Telangana, also made a strong case for expanding the ongoing lockdown. “During the lockout time, the Center and all other state governments lost money. The only positive outcome of this is that we will protect our people,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government is expected to ask the Central to lift the lockdown in phases wherein the supply of basic services such as gas cylinders is simplified first, sectors that can not depend on work from home are reopened next, while trains and buses, schools and colleges are supposed to remain closed down for longer.

Moreover, the government has so far made no statement as to whether or not it will prolong the existing lockout.

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