New Delhi: The central government is unlikely to completely lift the countrywide lockdown on 3 May, but could ease many existing restrictions between that date and 15 May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has indicated.
In a video interaction with chief ministers of states and union territories, the PM also said that public transport is unlikely to be restarted in this period, according to officials who attended the meeting.
“A decision on how the lockdown will be enforced post 15 May will be taken closer to the date, depending on the situation vis-a-vis the spread of the coronavirus,” said an official.
This was the fourth interaction PM Modi had with chief ministers to discuss the Covid-19 combat strategy since the pandemic started spreading in India in March.
Hotspot zones need to be made smaller
PM Modi is also said to have told the states that hotspot zones, where Covid-19 cases have been reported, need to be made smaller, so that people are not inconvenienced.
“The Prime Minister said that depending on how states contain the spread of the virus, they could look at curtailing the areas under hotspots. The idea is to keep hotspots restricted to only very specific areas from where cases have been reported,” said a second official, who did not want to be named.
Modi also stressed on the need to prioritise the economy, telling the states to turn the current “adversity into opportunity”.
“The Prime Minister said states should use the situation to usher in administrative and governance reforms. He cited the example of Rajasthan, which recently ushered in labour reforms to give a fillip to business and industry,” the second official said. “He also asked states to solicit investment from other countries.”
States should not become complacent
However, the PM also implored the states not to show any complacency in ensuring that protocols, including social distancing and wearing masks, are followed strictly.
“He repeated a couple of times that states have to strictly enforce social distancing protocols to contain the spread of the virus, which he said is going to be there for some more time,” a third official said.