Coronavirus Outbreak: Centre to take final call on lockdown extension today; a look at states who back decision

FP Staff

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for a meeting with all state heads to take a call on whether there is a need to extend the lockdown or not.

The global coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted economies and daily life across the globe, has forced many countries to call for a lockdown. Modi had on 24 March announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown as COVID-19 cases in India continued to rise.

After the conclusion of fourth meeting of 15-member informal Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, government sources said a lot of state governments, as well as experts, are requesting the Centre to extend the lockdown.

A senior minister, who is part of the group of GoM told Firstpost that all inputs gathered and the deliberations made by the GoM would be placed before Modi, who will take the final decision.

Officials said that the lockdown and social distancing measures have helped contain the pandemic in a big way in India. Citing an ICMR study, the Health Ministry said just one COVID-19 patient can infect as many as 406 people in 30 days in the absence of preventive measures such as social distancing and the lockdown, reported PTI.

Many experts and state governments have urged the Centre for the lockdown period to be extended beyond 14 April in view of the continued rise in confirmed cases in the country. Odisha has already announced a lockdown extension till 30 April.

Let's take a look at some of the states that have asked for a full or 'phased-out' lockdown extension in the country post 14 April.

Odisha

Odisha became the first state to extend the lockdown imposed to restrict the spread of coronavirus. The announcement to extend the 21-day period (initially scheduled to end on 15 April) till 30 April was made by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday after a meeting of the state Cabinet.

Patnaik also recommended the Union government to extend the national lockdown till 30 April. He requested the Centre to not to start train and air services during the lockdown.

Telangana

Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao earlier this week had made a strong case for the extension of the ongoing lockdown. Rao had advocated for the extension of the current shutdown saying, "The Centre and all other State Governments have lost revenue during the lockdown period. The only positive outcome of this is that we are able to protect our people."

ANI reported that Rao had also cited reports of the Boston Consulting Group survey, which asked for ruthless measures like an extension of the lockdown till at least June.

"I am appealing to the Prime Minister and Government of India to extend lockdown without hesitation. Lockdown is the only weapon we have to control the spread of this disease and avoid a situation which countries like the US, Spain and Italy are facing," he said at a news conference.

Madhya Pradesh

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday had indicated that the lockdown can be extended in the state, if needed, PTI reported.

"We will take a decision after analysing the circumstances. Lives of people are more important. We can tolerate lockdown. We can resurrect the economy later on but can't be able to bring back lives of people," Chouhan said in a video statement.

Chouhan also said that looking at the present situation in Bhopal and Indore, "we need to stay more alert and take precautions", reported ANI.

Maharashtra 

While Maharashtra has not asked for a total extension of the lockdown period, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, from his Twitter account had declared: "The Prime Minister said that the State Government should not lift the lockdown immediately from April 15 but it should happen in phases. Precautions should be taken that there is no crowding."

Meanwhile, state health minister Rajesh Tope told Reuters"If people don't obey the rules seriously and cases continue to rise, then there may be no option but to extend the lockdown. It could be extended in Mumbai and urban areas of Maharashtra by two weeks."

Rajasthan

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot favoured a phased withdrawal of restrictions. "We cannot withdraw lockdown immediately, it has to be done in a phased manner," Gehlot was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Assam

The BJP-led Assam government said it would support any proposal by the central government of a "systematic and scientific" withdrawal of the nationwide lockdown, reported NDTV.

"We have consulted within the state on what should be the mode of withdrawal of lockdown. We don't want that everything should be opened on 15 April morning. We want it to be a systematic and scientific withdrawal of lockdown so that the benefits during the lockdown aren't wasted in a single day," said Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma while addressing the media earlier this week.

Goa

The Goa cabinet on Wednesday decided to recommend an extension of the COVID-19 lockdown till 30 April in light of the rise in the number of coronavirus cases.

The state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, also decided that section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code should remain in place till the ongoing health crisis abates.

"We have decided to recommend an extension in the current lockdown to the Prime Minister's Office, suggesting that it remain in place till 30 April," state Port Minister Michael Lobo told PTI.

Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh may extend the ongoing lockdown beyond 14 April, a senior government official told The Hindu, citing the rising number of COVID-19 positive cases in the State including those linked to the Tablighi Jamaat.

Furthermore, Additional chief secretary home department Awanish Awasthi told the newspaper that there was little possibility of lifting the lockdown on 15 April.

Delhi

Lockdown in Delhi could be extended beyond 14 April if the current situation persists, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday, Hindustan Times reported.

"If the situation persists then there could be a need to extend the lockdown since the cases are continuing to rise. It is difficult to say anything about how things may turn out in six to seven days' time. Any decision will be taken in the interest of the general public by the chief minister and the prime minister," a quote by Sisodia was put out by AAP's Twitter account.

Punjab

Punjab is will allow district-wise relief from lockdown only for farmers to harvest rabi crop in view of the upcoming harvest season, announced state chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday. He further said that the lockdown "should go on" beyond the stipulated time frame of 14 April and that he iss seriously thinking of lockdown extension but final decision will be taken post cabinet meeting.

"We are now faced with harvesting. Until 14 April there is a lockdown and from 15 April the harvesting of wheat will start. We are getting a bumper harvest, the fourth year in a row," Amarinder Singh said. The state is expecting a bumper wheat crop of around 185 lakh tonnes, he said, making it necessary to ensure adequate harvest arrangements, reported NDTV.

Karnataka

Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa on Thursday said all his cabinet colleagues are of the unanimous opinion to extend the lockdown for about 15 days after 14 April and a final decision in this regard will be taken after consulting the prime minister on Saturday, reported PTI.

Kerala

An expert task force set up by the Kerala government on evolving a strategy on easing the coronavirus lockdown has said the "time is not yet ripe" for its full withdrawal after 14 April and recommended a "phased approach" to the removal of the restrictions.

The 17-member committee in its report has suggested a withdrawal strategy that should be gradual, phased and calibrated to ensure that the caseload is always kept below the (surge) capacity of the healthcare system to deal with it. It said restricting large scale movement of people across international and state boundaries was "critical" and should not be considered unless and until the situation was under control in every state.

Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Thursday asserted that a decision on extending the lockdown will be taken after getting expert advice and taking into account the increase in the number of coronavirus positive cases.

Palaniswami, after a consultative meeting with a dozen government panels set up to tackle COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu, cautioned that there is a chance for the infection to progress to community transmission stage and appealed to people to cooperate for effective implementation of curbs considering the gravity of the contagion.

Speaking to reporters at the Secretariat, he said a decision on the extension of lockdown depended on a couple of factors. "A decision will be taken considering the status of the disease...it is contagious and the number of cases is on the rise and as of now 738 people are infected and these aspects will be factored in," he said answering a question.

The chief minister's pointer towards the steady rise in the number of cases is seen as a hint that the government might be considering prolonging lockdown, reported PTI.

Jammu and Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor, GC Murmu on Friday said that restrictions will remain imposed even after Narendra Modi's call for nationwide lockdown ends at 14 April, in "34 red zones" that have been identified in the Union Territory.

"There will be selective restrictions, movement and social distancing in these zones. Planning for this is underway," said Murmu.

With inputs from agencies

Also See: Maharashtra extends lockdown till 30 April; Uddhav Thackeray says restrictions will be lifted as soon as chain of transmission breaks

Coronavirus Outbreak: Actions of Tablighi Jamaat in spreading contagion condemnable, but resulting online hate speech against Assam’s Muslims equally deplorable

Coronavirus outbreak sparks racist attacks on people from North East, stokes Islamophobia on social media

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