With the growing number of coronavirus cases in the country, chief ministers of several states today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the lockdown. After May 3, the nationwide lockdown is expected to continue at many places, especially in COVID-19 hotspots.
State governments should be able to convert their red zones (districts with high number of COVID-19 infections) first into orange zones (districts with fewer cases) and, eventually, into green zones (districts with no infections), Modi said today while interacting with chief ministers over a video conference.
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma said the state would continue lockdown with restrictions on inter-state and inter-district movement while Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik urged PM Modi to allow important activities within the state. Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh left the decision on lockdown extension to the Centre.
India's COVID-19 count has increased to 27,892 with states registering over 1,300 cases in the last 24 hours. Maharashtra continued to remain the worst affected state with more than 8,000 coronavirus cases.
Stressing that India would continue the fight against coronavirus, PM Modi said restarting economic activities that were halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak was also important. This was fourth interaction between PM Modi and state chief minister since the outbreak.
PM Narendra Modi reiterated the importance of social distancing to mitigate the spread of coronavirus. "Do gaz doori," should be our new mantra. Face masks and face covers will become part of our lives in the days ahead, PM Modi added.
The month-long nationwide lockdown helped India to save thousands of lives, PM Modi said during the meeting. He also said "the danger of the virus is far from over and constant vigilance is of paramount importance."
Modi stressed that there will be no discrimination against states on the basis of the number of infections and all will be equally treated, the Hindustan Times reported. In the last few weeks, several people with symptoms like cold or cough came forward and this was a welcome sign, the PM told chief ministers.
PM Modi also urged the CMs to ensure that more people download and use AarogyaSetu app to bolster the efforts of the country in the battle against COVID-19.
Apart from the chief ministers, Home Minister Amit Shah, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and top officials from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and Union Health Ministry also attended today's meeting.