The three-week nationwide lockdown comes to an end today and Prime Minister Modi is to address the nation at 10 AM where he is expected to chalk out the further course of action on possible extension of lockdown as well as exit strategy in places where the spread of Chinese coronavirus is contained substantially. However, even before the central government makes any announcement, many states in India have already extended the lockdown.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has extended lockdown in Bengal up to 30th April and schools and colleges to remain closed till 10th June. Similarly, Maharashtra, Punjab and Telangana have also extended the lockdowns till 30th April. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday, even before any official announcement from the central government, claimed that PM Modi has decided on extending the lockdown till 30th April. Moreover, Maharashtra has announced extension till 30th April with no relaxation. As per ministry data, there are 2334 total confirmed cases in Maharashtra as of 14th April, 2020 8 AM, the highest in India.
Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are reportedly going to continue a modified lockdown where some essential shops may be allowed to remain open and activities such as agriculture may be resumed. The farmers may begin the purchase of Rabi crops from 15 April onward. Similarly, in Uttar Pradesh, too, online services and purchase of wheat may begin. However, people will still be strongly advised to stay home. While schools and colleges will continue to remain closed, home delivery of food from restaurants might resume.
In Haryana, while the lockdown may be extended, it may come with partial relaxation. Parts of the state where number of coronavirus positive persons is high may have stricter guidelines while there might be relaxation in parts where the contagion is contained. In Bihar while the lockdown extension may be continued with stricter guidelines, in Jharkhand, the extension may come with some relaxation for farmers. In Chhattisgarh, too, there might be some relaxation as the partial lockdown continues. Gujarat, where the number of coronavirus positive patients is also significantly high, has decided to follow Centre’s directives on the lockdown.
Coronavirus lockdown in India
On 24 March, 2020, Prime Minister Modi in his address to the nation announced that the entire country will be under a lockdown to prevent spread of coronavirus. Following the directives, many states sealed their borders to stop movement of passengers from other states. After the lockdown was announced, hundreds of attendees at Tablighi Jamaat in New Delhi’s Nizamuddin were found living inside the markaz, many of whom were foreign nationals. Tablighi Jamaat is an Islamic evangelical event where Muslims are encouraged to live the life as prescribed by Prophet Mohammad. The discovery of Jamaat attendees in Delhi, many of whom had left for other states in India, led to a huge spike in the coronavirus positive cases in India.