States in favour of extending COVID-19 lockdown



Friday is the last day for states to submit their suggestion to the Centre on lockdown 4.0 strategy even as the number of coronavirus breached 80,000 mark.

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.

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.

The state has also conveyed its views on the relaxations it wants in the fourth phase of the lockdown, he said.

While Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha have asked for the strict lockdown to continue. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has made it clear the lockdown in his state will be extended to May 31. While Telanagana became the first state to extend lockdown till May 31.

Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in the country is reluctant to open up too much of the economy or too many offices. The state is favoring stricter rules in red zone areas.

UP govt raises fuel prices, imposes 'corona tax' on liquor to boost revenue

On the other hand, Gujarat, one of the badly-hit states wants to resume all economic activity in all major urban centres. Tamil Nadu has also asked for economic activity to be re-started except in containment zones maid spike in cases.

Karnataka, which has also done well to contain the viral outbreak, has asked the centre for permission to re-open restaurants, hotels and gymnasiums - public spaces closed weeks ago to encourage social distancing and check the virus' spread.

Kerala, which has flattened coronavirus curve wants metro services, local trains, domestic flights, restaurants and hotels to be re-opened.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a six-hour video call with several chief ministers and asked for states' to come up with blueprint to spell out how they want to deal with the lockdown regime.

"We have a twofold challenge to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually, while adhering to all the guidelines, and we will have to work towards achieving both these objectives", he added.

"I request you all to share with me by 15th May, a broad strategy on how each one of you would want to deal with the lockdown regime in your particular state. I want states to make a blueprint on how to deal with various nuances during and after the gradual easing of the lockdown," PM Modi said.

The third phase of the coronavirus-induced nationwide lockdown is scheduled to end on May 17.

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