With a continuous rise in the number of Covid-19 cases across the country, speculations are rife regarding yet another extension of the nationwide lockdown. India had first entered the lockdown on March 25, for a period of 3 weeks till April 14. But, the rampant spread of the novel coronavirus forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the lockdown till May 3.
To assess the emerging situation and plan ahead for tackling the pandemic, PM Modi on Monday, April 27, conducted a meeting with Chief Ministers of states via video conferencing. The leaders discussed at length the results of the two lockdowns and also talked about measures that need to be undertaken post-May 3.
Several states including Karnataka vouched for further extending the lockdown till at least May 15 as India has not been able to break the chain of transmission so far.
Will India enter lockdown 3.0?
Underlining the fact that the two lockdowns have managed to yield positive results by preventing thousands from getting exposed to the China-originated virus, PM Modi said that the danger of the virus is far from over and constant vigilance is of paramount importance.
Speaking to the CMs, he highlighted the importance of enforcing strict guidelines in the hotspot areas, saying that the states should direct their efforts towards converting the red zones into orange and then eventually into green zones.
Stressing the need to keep practicing social distancing, PM Modi said that the impact of the novel coronavirus will remain visible for several months to come, hinting that there will be a further extension of the lockdown in the areas identified as red zones, as part of the graded exit strategy.
Karnataka CM bats for lockdown till May 15
After interacting with PM Modi via video conferencing, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said that we cannot afford to lift the lockdown right now. "We have taken all the precautions to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infection and will continue to impose those measures. There is a possibility of the lockdown getting extended for two weeks after May 3," he said.
"There is no answer from the PM on the opinion of the state governments on zone-wise relaxation of lockdown. However, we will completely support the decision of PM Modi," Yediyurappa added.
Therefore, as of now, there is no confirmation regarding the extension of the nationwide lockdown till May 15. However, it is very much likely that the restrictions will remain in place in the hotspot areas even after May 3. But the viral photo of local news channel running the news of lockdown extension in Karnataka till May 15 is fake.
At present, India's COVID-19 case count has crossed the 28,000-mark with the death toll nearing 1,000.