NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday stayed firm on extending the lockdown to manage the coronavirus pandemic, putting on ice for a week requests from the non-essential industries to let them partially resume work.
While he extended the lockdown by 19 days till May 3, graded relaxation will begin from April 20 depending on how well the chain of transmission is broken.
“Until 20th April, every town, every police station, every district, every state will be evaluated on how much the lockdown is being followed. Areas that succeed in this litmus test, those which will not be in the hot-spot category, and will have less likelihood to turn into a hot-spot maybe allowed to open up select necessary activities from 20thApril,” he said in his address to the nation.
However, permissions for relaxation may be withdrawn immediately if lockdown rules are broken, and if there is a threat of spread of the virus, he warned.
Modi said the lifting of restrictions in low-risk areas is meant to ease the difficulties being faced by the poor and daily wage earners. Detailed guidelines will be issued in this regard on Wednesday, he added.
Invoking the Preamble of the Constitution, he said: “I am well aware of the problems you have faced; some for food, some for movement from place to place, and others for staying away from homes and families. However, for the sake of your country, you are fulfilling your duties like a disciplined soldier. This is the power of We, the People of India that our Constitution talks about.”
With the lockdown’s extension, all passenger transport by air and rail will remain shut till May 3.