Chief Ministers of at least six states on Monday pitched for the nationwide lockdown imposed to control the spread of coronavirus to be Extend Lockdown beyond May 3 as they took part in a video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the prevailing situation.
While West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that the lockdown should at least be Extend Lockdown till May 21, the other five CMs – Jaganmohan Reddy of Andhra Pradesh, Pramod Sawant of Goa, Jai Ram Thakur of Himachal Pradesh, Zoramthanga of Mizoram and Conrad Sangma of Meghalaya – supported an extension without giving any set timeline.
Speaking to reporters through an online briefing, Banerjee said that while the restrictions should be extended, there should be more relaxation as well.
“We are in favor of extending the lockdown till May 21. From today’s meeting with the PM, the sense I got from what he had to say, is that this lockdown would continue,” she said.
Bengal has so far reported 504 cases, of which 109 patients have recovered and 20 have died. However, there have been concerns about the figures being underreported as only 12 people have been tested so far.
During the meeting, Prime Minister Modi told the chief ministers that the lockdown would continue in hotspot zones. However, relaxations would depend on the situation in individual states, and curbs would be lifted in districts that have shown improvement.
Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant, who had last week declared the coastal state coronavirus-free, also said the lockdown should be Extend Lockdown further with relaxation for economic activities within the state.
“We believe that the lockdown should be extended. We will be writing to the Prime Minister soon. Economical activities within the state should continue, but the border should be sealed,” Sawant told reporters at the State Secretariat.
Zoramthanga, one of the nine CMs who spoke during Monday’s meeting, said he wants the Extend Lockdown as the state is surrounded by Myanmar, Bangladesh and neighboring states that also have Covid-19 patients. “we can’t be complacent and have to guard ourselves very strictly,” he said.
The Centre had extended the lockdown from April 14 to May 3 for a total shut down of 40 days but has gradually lifted restrictions over the last two weeks, starting with agricultural activities and industries in rural areas.
The Centre has now allowed neighborhood and standalone shops, including those located in residential complexes, in urban areas to open during the lockdown. But those in the markets continue to remain shut till May 3. None of the relaxations, however, apply to hotspot zones.