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COVID-19 lockdown likely to be extended beyond 17th May with considerable relaxation

Speed News Desk | Updated on: 12 May 2020, 14:59 IST

The countrywide coronavirus lockdown is odds-on being prolonged for a third time past 17th May but more restrictions may be abated in areas that aren't gravely hit, government sources told on Monday., after a virtual meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and heads of state.

Restrictions similar to a night curfew and restraints on public conveyance may carry on in places classified as Red Zones, sources said. The Prime Minister has solicited states to send in ideas for changes to the current rules by 15th May.

"I am of the firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the second phase and similarly the measures needed in the third phase are not needed in the fourth," PM Modi said, according to a statement released after the meeting.

According to government sources, many states have called for the lockdown to be prolonged but limited to areas worst affected by the coronavirus. States have also asked for Red Zones to be changed from whole districts to merely containment zones.

Hit by the effect of the lockdown which is currently in its sixth week, a lot of states are in favour of recommencing economic activity outside containment zones.

"We now have reasonably clear indication as to the geographical spread of the pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas. Moreover, over the past few weeks, officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the district level," PM Modi said.

"And therefore, we can now further focus our strategy in this battle against coronavirus, as should be the case. We have a twofold challenge - to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually, while adhering to all the guidelines, and we will have to work towards achieving both these objectives," PM Modi added.

Subsequent to his last meeting with heads of state in April, the Centre had put out relaxations for businesses and transportation particularly in areas that were classified Green or Orange Zones. The third spell of the lockdown with the relaxations started on 4th May and is set to become void on 17th May.

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First published: 12 May 2020, 14:51 IST