New Delhi , May 11: The nationwide COVID-19 lockdown is likely to be extended for a third time beyond May 17, according to highly placed government sources following an online meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state chief ministers.
Restrictions like a 7 pm-to-7 am curfew may continue, however, PM Modi has asked states to send in suggestions for changes to other restrictions.
Earlier in the day while interacting with CMs from across the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a “balanced strategy” to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. The Prime Minister also mentioned efforts needed to address ‘jan se jag tak’ – from people to world, adding that the world will change after the coronavirus crisis, as it did after the two World Wars. He also emphasised on the need to prepare for upcoming monsoon as this season is known for increase in diseases.
In his opening remarks the Prime Minister said, “We now have reasonably clear indication as to the geographical spread of the pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas.
Moreover, over the past few weeks, officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the District level.”
Prime Minister said that this understanding of the spread of COVID-19 will help the country in having a focussed fight against it.
“And therefore, we can now further focus our strategy in this battle against coronavirus, as should be the case. 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 said.
Prime Minister further said now the effort should be to stop the spread of the COVID-19 to rural areas.
The Prime Minister said the suggestions made by the States for a roadmap on Economy have been given due consideration.
The Chief Ministers appreciated the leadership of the Prime Minister in the country’s fight against COVID-19 and also highlighted the need to strengthen the medical and health infrastructure in the country. Several of them pointed out that with the return of migrants, there is a need to concentrate on strict implementation of the social distancing guidelines, usage of masks and sanitization in order to curb the spread through fresh infection, especially in rural areas.
The compulsory quarantining of the stranded Indians returning from abroad was also highlighted. The Chief Ministers in their suggestions on economy have sought support to MSMEs, Infrastructure projects like Power, easing of interest rates on loans and assured market access to the agricultural produce.
Prime Minister thanked the Chief Minister’s for their proactive role in the country’s fight against the COVID-19 and for their valuable suggestions emanating out of their grassroot level experience.
Prime Minister said that we must understand that the World has fundamentally changed post COVID-19. Now the World will be Pre-Corona, Post-Corona just like the case of the World Wars. And this would entail significant changes in how we function.
He said we must all plan for the new reality.
“Even as we look at the gradual withdrawal of the lockdown, we should constantly remember that till we do not find a vaccine or a solution, the biggest weapon with us to the fight the virus is social distancing”, he said.
Prime Minister reaffirmed the importance of Do Gaz Ki doori and added that suggestion of night curfew raised by many CMs would surely reaffirm the feeling of caution among people.
He requested all the Chief Ministers for specific feedback lockdown.
“I request you all to share with me by May15, a broad strategy on how you each one of you would want to deal with the lockdown regime in your particular states. I want states to make a blue print on how to deal with various nuances during and after the gradual easing of the lockdown”, he said.
Prime Minister said, we will need an all-encompassing approach to deal with various challenges that will arise before us.With the onset of Monsoon, there will be proliferation of many non-COVID19 diseases, for which we must prepare and strengthen our medical and health systems.
He asked the policy makers to also keep in mind how to embrace new models of teaching and learning in the education sector.
Referring to Tourism the Prime Minister said he saw potential for domestic tourism but we need to think of the contours of the same.
He said, “I am of the firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the 2nd phase and similarly the measures needed in the 3rd Phase are not needed in the fourth.”
Referring to the resumption of train Services, the Prime Minister said, this is needed to revamp the economic activity, but said that all the routes will not be resumed. Prime Minister said only a limited number of trains would ply.
With PIB inputs