India set to extend nationwide lockdown to tackle coronavirus
NEW DELHI/DHAKA: The chief minister of Delhi state said on Saturday that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to extend a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but the federal government did not confirm this decision.
Modi’s government said only that it was still considering states’ requests and that they mostly wanted a two-week extension to the 21-day lockdown, which is due to end on Tuesday.
Modi earlier held a video conference call with several state chief ministers to decide on the future course.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who attended the meeting, said Modi had decided to extend the lockdown.
“PM has taken (a) correct decision to extend (the) lockdown. Today, India’s position is better than many developed countries because we started lockdown early. If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost,” Kejriwal said on Twitter, without giving a time frame.
In a statement later, the federal government said Modi had emphasized in the meeting that the coming weeks were critical to determine the impact of the steps taken until now to contain the virus.
The government has not said when it would make a final decision on any lockdown extension.
The number of coronavirus infections in India rose to 7,529 on Saturday, with the capital city New Delhi and financial hub Mumbai fast emerging as hotspots. – Reuters