Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said the lockdown imposed to battle the coronavirus would be extended till May 3, and expressed gratitude to Indians for the sacrifices they had made so far.
A new coronavirus causing a respiratory disease called Covid-19 has killed tens of thousands of people worldwide in a pandemic described by the UN as the most challenging global crisis since the Second World War. The virus, known as SARS-CoV-2, has sickened over 10,000 people in India and killed 339.
Here’s what you need to know about the lockdown extension.
1. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a 19-day extension of the ongoing lockdown (till May 3) in his second address to the nation since the shutdown began on March 25.
2. Why May 3 instead of April 30? Government sources cited by ANI point out that May 1 is a public holiday, and that May 2 and 3 fall on a weekend.
Taking into consideration, all suggestions from States and Citizens, it has been decided that the lockdown in #India will have to be extended till May 3: PM @narendramodi #IndiaFightsCorona #Lockdown2 pic.twitter.com/mNLB24MEkU
— PIB India #StayHome #StaySafe (@PIB_India) April 14, 2020
3. Several states, including Odisha, Punjab and Maharashtra, have already extended the lockdown period.
4. More stringent measures will be implemented until April 20, and efforts taken by local administrations to implement the SOP will be evaluated. If there are positive developments, conditional concessions can be made — but setbacks will result in a rollback of such concessions. Detailed guidelines will be issued tomorrow.
5. India has more 1 lakh beds and over 600 hospitals for treating coronavirus patients, and these facilities are being expanded, PM Modi said.
6. He discussed his government’s efforts to contain the virus, saying India began screening flight passengers from affected countries when it had no cases itself, and required people returning from abroad to observe a 14-day isolation period even before its caseload reached 100. India, he said, took swift decisions without waiting for the problem to escalate.
Illustration: India Today TV/Data Intelligence Unit
7. PM Modi acknowledged difficulties faced by Indians during the lockdown and expressed gratitude for their sacrifice.
8. He urged businesses not to lay off employees, and asked the public to be kind to professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic, such as doctors and police personnel.
9. Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said PM Modi’s speech was “hollow on specifics” such as economic measures. He compared it to Hamlet “[without the] Prince of Denmark”. His party colleague Shashi Tharoor welcomed the move to extend the lockdown but said the PM “should have also announced serious relief for those who cannot make ends meet”. Another Congressman, P Chidambaram, was more scathing: “There is money, there is food, but the government will not release either money or food. Cry, my beloved country.”
#Pm address wo single specific and wo guidelines is like #Hamlet wo #Prince of #Denmark. Like #PM wo details! We want increased #GDP allocation; specific targeted monetary injections; #Keynesian spending; loosen #FMRB etc. not a single word!
— Abhishek Singhvi (@DrAMSinghvi) April 14, 2020
The poor have been left to fend for themselves for 21+19 days, including practically soliciting food. There is money, there is food, but the government will not release either money or food.
Cry, my beloved country.
— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) April 14, 2020
10. The Railways is extending the suspension of passenger services till May 3, a senior official said.
Inputs from agencies
IndiaToday.in has plenty of useful resources that can help you better understand the coronavirus pandemic and protect yourself. Read our comprehensive guide (with information on how the virus spreads, precautions and symptoms), watch an expert debunk myths, check out our data analysis of cases in India, and access our dedicated coronavirus page. Get live updates on our blog.