The final decision on lifting of the 21-day lockdown on April 15 could be taken after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with chief ministers on Saturday. In his last meeting with CMs on April 2, PM Modi had sought suggestions from the states, especially those affected the most by the coronavirus pandemic. Considering the rising COVID-19 cases, many states governments have reportedly requested the Centre to extend the lockdown to contain community spread.
Eleven empowered committees formed to oversee India's response to COVID-19 pandemic have also reportedly received several feedbacks from states on the lockdown extension.
Some of these suggestions include the closure of all kinds of religious activities, and school and colleges till June; transfers and postings in the government sector to be deferred for six months; closure of hotel, bars and restaurants till the situation improves; and suspension of public events like weddings, funerals, and corporate town hall meetings.
Speculations are rife that the Centre may go for a "rational lockdown" -- a micro-managed exit -- as it believes the lockdown has proved to be an effective tool in curbing community spreading. States like Punjab, Haryana and UP may, however, favour partial relaxation in lockdown due to the commencement of wheat harvesting season, which requires huge labour movement.
Some states like Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu may want to continue with the lockdown due to rapidly rising number of cases in these states. Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend lockdown deadline by two more weeks. He said the situation would become uncontrollable if the lockdown was lifted "hastily".
As of now, Maharashtra has the highest number of cases among all states, with 1,018 confirmed coronavirus cases and 79 deaths. The other states where most numbers of active cases of COVID-19 have been reported are -- Tamil Nadu and Delhi. In Tamil Nadu, the active case tally has surged to 690 and seven patients have died. In Delhi, the active cases have risen to 576, while nine people have succumbed to the disease.