Covid-19: Decision pending on extending nationwide lockdown

As cases spike in many places, PM calls for consultations with state governments, other parties, about if and when to lift the lockdown

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The national lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is fast reaching its April 14 deadline. Modi is expected to have a video conference meeting with all Chief Ministers on April 11. Any formal announcement is only likely after this.

While no official decision has been taken yet about the continuation of the lockdown on the national level, Odisha became the first state in the country to extend the lockdown by 5 days. Many other state governments are likely to push for either an extension of the lockdown, or a staggered lifting of it. 

With a spike in fresh cases in many states like Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Telangana and a few others, there is a strong case for continuing the lockdown.


On Thursday, Odisha became the first state in the country to announce an extension of the lockdown in the state till April 30. Also, schools and educational institutions will remain closed till June 17. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told reporters on Thursday, “At this crucial juncture one has to decide between protecting lives of people and economic activity. The state cabinet, which met today, decided that saving the lives of our people is the topmost priority at this juncture.” The state government has also urged the center not to start rail or air services till April 30. Odisha is home to 4.5 crore people and so far, has 49 Covid-19 positive cases.


In Maharashtra where 1,297 cases have been confirmed Covid-19 positive so far, talks are on to extend the lockdown in Mumbai and Pune, from where maximum number of cases have been reported. CM Uddhav Thackeray and his cabinet are expected to make an official announcement after closely monitoring the situation between April 10 and 14. Wearing masks in public has already been made mandatory in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik and Nagpur. Already 381 containment zones and 10 hot zones have been identified and isolated across Mumbai where 143 new cases were reported on just Thursday, taking the tally to 839. It is highly unlikely that the lockdown would be lifted here.

Tamil Nadu

Chief Minister K Palaniswami has yet to take a formal decision about extension of the lockdown in Tamil Nadu. “A 19-member committee of medical experts has been set up and their advice will be solicited and also the government 12 panels on tackling COVID-19 scenario will be consulted and then a decision will be taken,” he told reporters on Thursday.

This state has the highest number of Covid-19 positive cases after Maharashtra at 738. Just on Wednesday 48 new cases were reported, 42 of these from a single source that has not been revealed officially yet. TN Health Secretary Beela Rajesh said that the state was still in stage two of the pandemic and efforts were on to ensure matters did not escalate to stage 3.


The lockdown in Delhi could well be extended after April 14 if the current situation persists, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters on Wednesday. Delhi currently has 699 Covid-19 positive cased. Already 20 areas, including 13 identified on Wednesday, have been identified as hot zones and completely sealed off in Delhi. Meanwhile, 22 areas in Noida and 13 in Ghaziabad, next door were also sealed off on Wednesday.  


In Telangana, Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao is in favour of extending the lockdown. On Monday, April 6, he formally requested the PM to extend the lockdown. “I am for the lockdown of the country furthermore after April 15. Because, we can recover from the economic problem. But, we cannot recover lives. We cannot recover the lives of the people,” he told reporters in Hyderabad.

Meanwhile Telangana High Court has not only sacrificed its summer vacation (May 1 to June 5), but has also extended their own lockdown till the end of April. 49 new cases were reported on Wednesday alone, and at the time of publishing this piece, total number positive cases in Telangana stood at 453, with 175 reported from Hyderabad alone.


Doctors in Jharkhand have urged Chief Minister Hemant Soren to continue with the lockdown given how there are only 150 ventilators in the entire state, reporter The Telegraph. Soren was meeting Indian Medical Association (IMA) members, Ranchi-based doctors and representatives of city hospitals on Wednesday. Dr Pradeep Kumar Singh, secretary of the state IMA, told the CM, “We lack proper health infrastructure and we are not in a position to tackle a mass explosion of patients if it happens. What we can do at this moment is to focus on prevention including lockdown and social isolation.” Withdrawing the lockdown on April 14, Dr Singh said, “will be disastrous”.


The Karnataka government is expected to finalise a lockdown exit strategy by April 13. State Medical Education Minister Sudhakar K told Economic Times that a final decision will be taken after a videoconference with the Prime Minister on April 11. The publication also reported that Chief Minister BS Yedyurappa was in favour of lifting the lockdown in districts from where no positive cases had been reported. Currently the number of infected people stands at 181 with 6 new cases reported yesterday.


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