With the nationwide 40-day lockdown due to end on May 3, states are considering a further extension of restrictions in the coronavirus hotspots as the tally continues to soar. This was part of a broad consensus that emerged in the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers.
After Maharashtra, the Meghalaya government on Monday said it was mulling continuation of the shutdown with some relaxation in non-Covid-19 affected areas. Telangana has already extended the lockdown till May 7. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked for the lockdown to be extended till June 3.
When is the lockdown going to end?
The second phase of the lockdown, which has been enforced to break the chain of transmission, will end on May 3. The first phase of the three-week lockdown came to an end on April 14, following which it was extended by another 19 days by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, after April 20 some relaxations in were allowed in non-containment zones and manufacturing units were allowed to start to revive the economy.
Last week, the Centre allowed some categories of shops to open. On the category of shops, the MHA said, “In rural areas, all shops, except those in shopping malls are allowed to open. In urban areas, all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops & shops in residential complexes are allowed to open. Shops in markets/market complexes and shopping malls are not allowed to open.”
What happened in the meeting between PM Modi and chief ministers?
In the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief ministers, a broad consensus emerged that the states with a growing number of COVID-19 cases are likely to see a stricter lockdown post May 3 than those with Green Zones, sources told The Indian Express. The lockdown, sources said, is expected to continue in many places post May 3.
But the states that have a number of COVID-free districts wanted some restrictions to be eased so that more economic activities could be revived. However, all he states wanted to continue the restrictions on inter-state transportation as well as air and railway transport, indicating that the ban on such travel would continue post May 3.
Which states sought an extension of lockdown and what relaxations?
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked for the lockdown to be extended till June 3. At least two states are learnt to have backed him. Here is what different states sought in the meeting.
Following a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other chief ministers, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma tweeted, “At the video conference called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. We have mooted to continue with the lockdown post May 3rd with relaxation on activities in Green Zones or non-Covid-19 affected districts in Meghalaya.”
At the video conference called by the Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji and Hon’ble Home Minister, @AmitShah ji. We have mooted to continue with the lockdown post May 3rd with relaxation on activities in Green Zones or Non-Covid affected districts in #Meghalaya.#CovidUpdates pic.twitter.com/rMrS6j3cPP
— Conrad Sangma (@SangmaConrad) April 27, 2020
The government today relaxed a number of activities including sale of essential goods, courier services for essential goods, e-commerce operations in essential goods and Common Service Centres during the lockdown period.
Likewise, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also spoke of an extension of the lockdown during a meeting with the Prime Minister today. According to sources, Patnaik said the restrictions must continue till June 3 in order to bring the situation under control. At least two states agreed with the Odisha chief minister.
Earlier, a government official in Maharashtra, which recorded the biggest single-day spike in cases on Saturday, had said that the state is likely to extend the lockdown till May 15. “Since there is a rise in the number of cases in Mumbai and Pune, the state government is likely to extend the lockdown in these places till May 15,” the official had said.
Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope told The Indian Express that the extension of the lockdown in hotspot areas like Mumbai and Pune is under consideration. The decision will be taken after discussing all aspects, he added.
Of the two major cities, Mumbai accounts for the maximum number of COVID-19 cases in the country, while Pune on Saturday crossed the four-digit count.
The Kerala government favoured a ‘partial’ lockdown in the state till May 15 and sought a financial package from the Centre for various sectors, including rehabilitation of expatriates who wish to return, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Monday.
Conveying the state’s views to the Prime Minister and union Home Minister Amit Shah, Vijayan, who skipped the meeting with Modi, has informed Kerala would have a cautious approach on lifting the curbs after May 3 and would favour having a partial lockdown till May 15, PTI reported. The state favoured continuation of restrictions on inter- state and inter-district travel and the ban on public transport till the middle of next month.
While many states, including Bihar wanted more assistance in the health sector, including PPEs and test kits, Kerala wanted inter-district movements based on the analysis of the virus spread and more relaxation for the economic activities.