India‘s 21-day lockdown period is set to end next week, but the Centre is mulling extension on the request of many states and experts.
“Many State governments, as well as experts, are requesting the Central government to extend the lockdown. The Central government is thinking in this direction,” government sources were quoted as saying by the news agency ANI.
This came a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told BJP workers to be ready for a long haul and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar hinting at extension “at the right time”.
“We have formed Empowered Groups to monitor the situation emerging due to the COVID-19. We are monitoring the world situation every minute. Therefore, the decision on ending the nationwide lockdown will be taken ultimately in the interests of the nation and its people. That decision will be declared at the right time,” Mr Javadekar told media after the Cabinet meeting.
Several state leaders have requested for an extension or only a partial lifting of restrictions, saying that it is the only way to avoid a coronavirus pandemic that will otherwise be difficult to tackle.
On April 6, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao had urged the government to continue the lockdown.
“I’m for the lockdown of the country furthermore after April 15. Because we can recover from the economic problem, but we cannot get back lives,” Mr Rao said.
India has 4,421 coronavirus-linked cases and 115 deaths.