NEW DELHI: Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel on Thursday said had the Centre quarantined all those coming from abroad, the country could have been saved from the problems arising out of the coronavirus outbreak.
Addressing a press conference through video-conferencing, Baghel said he would take a decision on whether to extend the ongoing 21-day lockdown in Chhattisgarh only after consulting the state cabinet on April 12.
He said he would assess the Centre's response on the lockdown during the prime minister's meeting with chief ministers on the issue on April 11.
"We are looking forward to the Centre's response on April 11 on extension of the lockdown and thereafter, a meeting of the Chhattisgarh cabinet will be held on April 12 to decide the future course of action," Baghel said.
"There should be more discussions with states and the views of all states should be taken by the Centre before arriving at a decision on whether to extend the lockdown," he added.
Odisha became the first state on Thursday to extend the lockdown till April 30.
Asked about who should be held responsible for the coronavirus outbreak in the country, Baghel said the Centre should have conducted a screening of all those coming from abroad and kept them in quarantine.
"Had the government stopped the international flights and kept all those coming to the country in quarantine, this virus could not have spread across the country and a lot of problems people are facing today could have been averted," he said.
Replying to a question on whether he holds last month's Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi's Nizamuddin for the spread of the virus, the Congress leader said no religious colour should be given to it, but did not give a clean chit to the organisers of the Nizamuddin congregation.
"I am not saying they are innocent. But the government had the list of all those coming from abroad. It should have identified and quarantined them," he said.
The Chhattisgarh chief minister called for increasing the number of COVID-19 tests across the country while noting that people with no symptoms have been found to be carrying the virus.