New Delhi: Chief Ministers of many states on Saturday favoured an extension of lockdown in the country, in order to stem the sharp increase in the cases of Novel Coronavirus.
During a meeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the Chief Ministers of all states through video- conferencing, to determine the future course of action on the lockdown, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh, among others, favoured further extension of the lockdown till April 30, sources said.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Kejriwal said that the decision to continue the lockdown should be taken on a national level, adding that if the states decide the length of the lockdown on their own, then the fight against COVID-19 would not be effective.
Even if the lockdown is eased, all kinds of transport, either rail or road, should not be allowed, he added.
Speaking during the video-conference, the PM said, ‘I am available 24×7. Any Chief Minister can speak to me and give suggestions (on COVID-19) anytime. We should stand together, shoulder-to-shoulder.’
During the meeting, the Chief Ministers suggested that the lockdown should be uniformly enforced across the country to maximise its effectiveness, instead of states taking a call on their own.
Punjab and Odisha have already announced extending the lockdown by 15 days after April 14, when the current spell of 21-day shutdown across the country will end.
The meeting comes amid an increased outbreak of Coronavirus in the country, with the number of cases crossing the 7000 mark.
More than 200 people across the country have died due to the dreaded virus.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot also expressed the need to extend the lockdown.
Sources said that the Health Ministry gave a presentation during the video conference.
In fact, in his meeting with the leaders of Opposition parties, the PM had said that the situation is akin to a social emergency.
In his meeting with the Chief Ministers, the PM was seen wearing a mask. The other CMs were also seen wearing masks.
This is the Prime Minister’s second meeting with the Chief Ministers.
In his last video conference with Chief Ministers on April 2, Mr Modi had said the Centre and the states must have a common plan to ensure staggered movement of people after the national lockdown ends.
The meeting comes, even as the Central government has sought views on the issue from all relevant agencies and stakeholders involved in the efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic