After reports that Delhi may extend lockdown by two more weeks, five more states have also said if needed they were also ready to continue with the existing restrictions beyond May 3. Odisha, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab have reportedly said they were ready to extend the lockdown, at least in major hotspot areas, beyond May 3.
Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka have said they would follow the Centre's guidelines, while Assam, Kerala and Bihar said they would take the final call on the extension of the lockdown after Monday video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday said there were 92 coronavirus hotspots in the national capital but the entire city was not a hotspot. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, however, earlier this week said the lockdown would continue as usual in the national capital and no relaxation of prohibitions would be allowed before a review meeting of experts on April 27.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope has said the state could extend the lockdown in the red zones of Mumbai and Pune, which account for 92 per cent of total cases in the state, by 15 more days. The state account for a maximum number of novel coronavirus cases in India. The state has total 6,817 positive cases, including 301 deaths. As many as 957 people have recovered.
Maharastra is followed by Gujarat and Delhi with 2,815 and 2,514 cases, respectively. India's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, will also not allow opening up of all shops. "The government has already permitted shops selling essential goods, like groceries and medicines, and 11 kinds of industries to function. We will not permit any more shops to open up at this point," Times of India quoted a senior official as saying.
Most opposition-ruled states, including Odisha, Punjab and West Bengal, are in favour of extending the lockdown beyond May 3.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday relaxed lockdown norms for states, allowing all shops, including neighbourhood shops and standalone shops, shops in residential complexes, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, registered under the Shops and Establishment Act of the respective State and UT, to open during the lockdown. States and UTs are, however, have a choice to either implement the guideline or continue with the existing ones.
Meanwhile, the total number of cases in India neared 25,000 as of April 25, 5:30 pm. There are now eight states that have recorded more than 1,000 cases. Andhra Pradesh is the latest state to cross the 1,000 mark.