Centre may be looking at phased withdrawal of lockdown

Published : April 02, 2020 20:46 IST

Lockdown effect in Thiruvananthapuram today. Photo: S. Gopakumar

Nine days into the nation-wide lockdown, when India is still wondering about its impact on arresting the spread of COVID-19 and is bogged down by the enormity of the tasks ahead, a question is being asked almost everywhere: will the lockdown, with its huge impact on the economy too, be withdrawn on April 14?

Did Prime Minister Narendra Modi give any indication about it during his video conference with State Chief Ministers on Thursday?

At his daily press briefing on April 2, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said in reply to this question: “I cannot say there was any such clear assurance. But from what he said there is this (we can gather). How will we end the lockdown gradually? Meaning, we will not end it all on a sudden, but (he asked), how can we end it in stages?—and (said) the Centre needed the opinion of experts from all States in this regard.”

“However, he said something emphatically, that we will need to continue the practice of social distancing. He said this with no room for doubt,” the Chief Minister said.

As requested by the Prime Minister, Kerala will appoint a task force of experts tomorrow itself to give recommendations on how the lockdown could be ended in phases, the Chief Minister added.

Since the 21-day lockdown was announced on March 24 the number of COVID-19 positive cases in the country has risen from 606 on March 25 to over 1,900 on April 2.

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