Lockdown May Continue Beyond May 3 In Covid-19 Hotspots

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the chief ministers to work towards moving the districts out of the lockdown.

He also indicated that areas that are marked as red zones may continue operating the same way as now after May 3.

A government official informed ET that PM Modi urged the CMs to come up with “ways to energise the economy and reforms.”

There was an extensive discussion on the economy, the source added.

PM Modi sought to discuss the issue of exiting the ongoing lockdown at a video conference with CMs. During the conference, he emphasized that the districts need to move through the colour code (red, orange, and green) gradually.

Speaking about the thinking of the Centre, a top government official told ET, “Districts need to come out of the red zones and move to orange zones and the green zones to get relaxations from lockdown. It is a performance-based matrix and caseload needs to come down first in the worst-affected districts through strict implementation of the lockdown for them to qualify for relaxations.”

Speaking to the ministers, the PM emphasized on the fact that a long battle lay ahead of them. However, according to officials, the PM said nothing about the peaking of COVID-19 cases in the month of June or July.

PM Modi also stressed the fact that states need to enforce the lockdown guidelines strictly and promote the mantra of ‘do gaz doori’ in order to protect people from getting infected.

According to ET, while addressing the CMs, PM Modi said “importance needs to be given to the economy as well” while tackling the pandemic and for that, it’s important to “break the chain of transmission in the red and orange zones and be on alert in the green zones to stop the entry of coronavirus there.”

One of the main issues faced by the government is that the areas that have been most affected by COVID-19 are urban centers like Pune, Delhi, and Mumbai.

Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant later took to Twitter and mentioned the 15 districts that are critical in the fight against the pandemic.

Kant wrote, “India’s success in battling Covid-19 is dependent on them. We must aggressively monitor, contain, test, and treat in these districts. We must win here.”

However, according to the officials, more relaxations could be in line next week for industry and shopkeepers in districts that fall in the orange and green zones.

In a statement, the PMO said, “He (Modi) highlighted the importance for states to enforce guidelines strictly in the hotspots i.e. the red zone areas. He stated that the efforts of the states should be directed towards converting the red zones into orange and thereafter to green zones.”

The PM also asked the CMs to work out the details on the kind of relaxations that out go to be given in districts in the green zone. They were also asked to plan a separate phased lockdown exit plan for districts in the orange zone.

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