Covid-19: States divided on extending lockdown beyond May 3
As India continues to grapple with the coronavirus outbreak amid a nationwide lockdown, some states are considering the option of extending the shutdown beyond May 3 while some others are in favour of restricting it to containment zones and their buffer areas and not the entire districts.
So far, Telangana is the only state that has extended the lockdown till May 7.
An official of Delhi government’s Covid-19 committee has suggested that the ongoing lockdown will have to be extended till mid-May for the epidemic curve to flatten as the national capital reported 2,625 infections including 54 deaths.
“India is still on the ascending limb of the epidemic curve and so, to ease the restrictions will mean the cases will multiply uncontrollably. And, Delhi has a large number of containment zones, so it will be wise to extend it,” Dr S K Sarin, chairman of Delhi government’s committee on combating COVID-19, said on Saturday, reports PTI.
“The lockdown will have to be extended till May 16 as that is when the epidemic curve is likely to start declining, which happens after the flattening of the curve,” he said.
Maharashtra, too, is considering continuing the lockdown . The state government is considering extending the lockdown in Mumbai and Pune, the two biggest Covid-19 hotspots in the state.
State health minister Rajesh Tope on Saturday told HT’s business publication Mint that the lockdown will need to be extended if the spread of coronavirus is not contained.
“The main objective of implementing the lockdown was to stop the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and if the spread is not getting contained, we will have to extend the lockdown,” Tope told Mint.
“If required, we will extend the lockdown for 15 more days after 3 May only for the containment zones, if not for the entire Mumbai and Pune,” the minister added.
Of Maharashtra’s total 6,817 coronavirus cases, 4,447 come from Mumbai while 961 cases are from Pune, according to official data.
In Madhya Pradesh, officials have indicated that there is no likelihood of immediate relaxation in lockdown restrictions in the hotspot districts after May 3 as there haven’t been any signs of improvement.
“There are no signs of improvement in the situation in the state particularly in the hotspot districts. Hence there is no likelihood of any immediate relaxation from lockdown restrictions in these areas after May 3. Rather, there will be stricter compliance of restrictions to control the situation,” said an official on condition of anonymity on Saturday.
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh has said he would go by the advice of the expert committee, set up to formulate lockdown exit strategy, in the matter of opening up the state.
State health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu on Saturday said that the chief minister will consult all the departments and there could be a state cabinet meeting over the same.
In Uttar Pradesh, the administration has decided not to allow any public gatherings till June 30.
Officials in most BJP-ruled states have said they will follow the Centre’s directions on the lockdown.
The decision on whether to lift or extend the lockdown is expected to be among the issues likely to be discussed in Prime Minister Modi’s video conference with chief ministers on Monday.
Some chief ministers want lockdown to be lifted in districts not affected by the pandemic, even as differences remain on how the curbs should be enforced in the remaining areas.
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa and his Andhra counterpart, YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy, want the lockdown to be restricted to the containment areas and their buffer zones and not entire districts.
Chief ministers of Rajasthan, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar are expected to seek relaxation on interstate transport for allowing stranded migrant labourers to return home.