Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with chief ministers of all states on Saturday, where a decision on whether there is a need to extend of the lockdown may be taken. The 21-day nationwide lockdown that PM Modi declared in late March contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic is officially set to end on April 14.
This would be the second event when the Prime Minister will interact with the Chief Ministers via video link after the lockdown was imposed. During his April 2 interaction with Chief Ministers, Modi had pitched for a "staggered" exit from the ongoing lockdown.
The meeting comes amidst speculation that the Centre may extend the lockdown beyond April 14 after several states have favoured the extension by another week or two after April 15. Punjab and Odisha have already announced extension of the lockdown and curfew in their states till May 1 and April 30, respectively.
Earlier today, Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh-led government in Punjab decided to extend the curfew till May 1. This decision, which was taken at a state Cabinet meeting, came in wake of a rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases that has already crossed the 100-mark in the state. The government said the lockdown has been extended to check community spread of the coronavirus pandemic and to prevent overcrowding at mandis in the light of the ensuing wheat harvesting/procurement season.
Odisha was the first state to extend the 21-day lockdown till April 30. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had requested the Centre not to start train and air services till April 30. The state has also announced that all educational institutions in the state will remain closed till June 17.
Earlier this week, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider extending the nationwide 21-day lockdown. He recommended that the lockdown be extended for two additional weeks, saying that the situation would become uncontrollable if the lockdown was hastily lifted.
The current coronavirus tally in India stands at 6,761, including 896 new cases in the past 24 hours, the data from the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs Ministry said. Of all these cases, 6,039 are active cases, 516 have been cured and 206 deaths. The country has also reported 37 deaths in the past 24 hours alone. Of all states, Maharashtra tops the tally with 1,364 cases, followed by Delhi with 898 cases and Tamil Nadu with 834 cases.
By Chitranjan Kumar with agencies inputs