India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an extension of lockdown till May 3. Emphasising the importance of the next one week in the fight against coronavirus, he appealed to all the countrymen to stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus disease to newer areas.
The three-week lockdown of the nation of 1.3 billion people, which started at midnight on March 25, was scheduled to end at midnight on Tuesday.
In his fourth address to the nation since March 19, Modi asked authorities to intensify surveillance efforts from April 20, especially in the hotspots. An area is identified as coronavirus hotspot if there are six or more active cases reported from there.
“From the economic angle, we have paid a big price,” Modi said in a nationwide address. “But the lives of the people of India are far more valuable.”
South Asian nations have so far been relatively unscathed by the epidemic, with around 10,000 cases and 339 deaths in India, according to official figures.
Modi said some restrictions in areas further away from infection hotspots would be eased on April 20 to help poor people dependent upon daily wages.
“Till April 20, each police station, each district, each state will be monitored closely to see whether the lockdown is being followed and if that area has saved itself from the virus,” he said.
“Social distancing has paid off well in preventing the virus, while it may seem expensive to carry out, it is necessary to save the lives of Indians,” he said.
In his 20-minute televised address, Modi also talked about an increase in focus on the health infrastructure.
“Labs have come up, beds have increased, and more than 600 hospitals are working for coronavirus treatment. These facilities are being added every day,” he said.
The decision to extend the lockdown comes on a day when India completed the 21-day lockdown, announced by Modi on March 24 due to the pandemic. As of now, India has over 10,000 coronavirus cases and has recorded more than 300 deaths across various states.