(Eds: Adds details) Guwahati, May 15 (PTI) Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday said the state has written to the Centre urging it to extend the ongoing lockdown by two more weeks from May 18.
The third phase of the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown, which got under way on March 25, is scheduled to end on May 17.
Addressing a press conference here, Sonowal said all states were supposed to give their feedback on the extension of the lockdown by Friday, and the Assam government has already conveyed its stand to the Centre.
'We appealed to the Centre to extend the lockdown by two more weeks. We have already sent our detailed views on this,' he added.
The state has also conveyed its views on the relaxations it wants in the fourth phase of the lockdown, Sonowal said.
'Let the Government of India take a view on that. I don't want to say much about this now. All the states have written to the Centre, which will take a decision on the extension,' he said.
The chief minister lauded the measures, including the lockdown, initiated by the Centre to stem the spread of the disease.
Sonowal said the challenges posed by the pandemic will, in all likelihood, increase in the coming days, but insisted there was no need to panic.
'It will be a Himalayan challenge for us. The only thing that I request the public to do is to follow the norm of social distancing. We will have to face this patiently.
COVID-19 is an exceptional, unprecedented challenge,' he added.
The chief minister said that during the ongoing lockdown, the state machinery has provided ration to around 44 lakh people, who are not the targeted beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
'Many NGOs and individuals have come forward to help the poor people in this crisis. We are grateful to them,' he said.
Sonowal also expressed his gratitude to all frontline workers, including doctors, nurses and other medical staff, besides people from essential services such as police and media for their 'immense contribution' to saving lives. PTI TR RG SK SK