Covid-19: Government can extend lockdown as requested by several states

Government can extend lockdown: The Centre is actually considering to enhance the three-week national lockdown much further than April 14 to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. A procession of state and local governments — like Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, and now Madhya Pradesh — have in past few days come out in support of maintaining most or all of the additional restrictions.

While a final decision is anticipated nearer the deadline, the current thinking appears inclined towards prolonging most restrictions — especially those aimed at enforcing social distancing.
The chances of putting the lid on public transportation — metros, trains, and flights — and on inter-state movement of people remains low.

Government might still extend the lockdown:

Although there is a strong understanding in government of the large economic consequences of a lockdown, some over-riding issue at the moment is to first deal with the much more extreme danger, as per people familiar with the matter.There may be some scope to reopen a few more amenities and conveniences apart from chemist and grocery stores; there may also be a differentiated approach to big cities and virus hotspots on the one hand, and the less vulnerable parts of the country on the other.

The focus of the containment approach to Covid-19 hotspots and high-risk areas makes it difficult to even consider inter-district movement at any significant scale, leaving inter-state movement alone apart from permitted categories such as cargo.

A top Punjab bureaucrat has also favored a lockout extension. A minister in Maharashtra, the country’s worst-hit state, also said Friday that the restriction was not to end on April 14.

The lockdown came into effect on March 25, a day after Prime Minister Modi spoke to the country , saying that step was being taken to break the infection chain and monitor the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus disease. He also encouraged people to stop moving and staying wherever they find themselves.

Earlier this morning, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said that the last week of the currently underway lockdown is “critical” to the progression of an exit plan, as information on coronavirus outbreak will have an impact on the government’s decision.

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