Six states want lockdown extended beyond May 3

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While Delhi government said the lockdown would have to be continued till May 16 in the national capital, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Punjab and Odisha want lockdown extended in hotspots of their respective states

Even as the central government is relaxing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions across the country, six states favour extension of the lockdown beyond May 3.

While Delhi government said the lockdown would have to be continued till May 16 in the national capital, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Punjab and Odisha want lockdown extended in hotspots of their respective states, a report in Times of India said.

Many of these states are not in favour of implementing the Central government order on opening stand-alone shops in rural and urban areas. Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said the government will not allow such shops to open in containment zones till May 3.

Kejriwal said that a decision on the way forward, after the current nationwide lockdown ends on 3 May, will be taken depending on what the Centre decides.

Maharahstra, which has the highest number of Covid-19 positive cases in the country, also decided not to implement the home ministry’s order of neighbourhood shops. State health minister Rajesh Tope backed extension of lockdown in the containment zones in Mumbai and Pune, which account for 92% of the total cases in the state, till May 18.

The Uttar Pradesh government has also not fully implemented the Central order. Reports said that the government wants to wait before opening up shops. “It is crucial for UP to contain the number of cases. The government has already permitted shops selling essential goods, like groceries and medicines, and 11 kinds of industries to function. We will not permit any more shops to open up at this point,” TOI quoted a senior official as saying.

Six other states — Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka — said they would follow the Centre’s directive, while Assam, Kerala and Bihar would take a call after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s video conference with states and Union territories on Monday.

Telangana, the only state to have already extended the lockdown, said it would take a call two days before the curb ends on May 7.

Significantly, three opposition-ruled states of Bengal, Odisha and Punjab seem to be in favour of extending the lockdown in affected areas after May 3. Bengal is likely to continue with the restrictions in the red zones in Kolkata, Howrah, North 24-Parganas, Hooghly, East Midnapore, East Burdwan and Nadia, government sources said. The Mamata Banerjee government is, however, unlikely to seek a statewide lockdown, sources added.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh is of the view that it may not be possible to lift the lockdown completely for some more time as the state has witnessed three peaks in the Covid-19 curve in the past 40 days.

Odisha, too, thinks that complete lifting of lockdown is not advisable. State health minister Naba Kishore Das said relaxations should be given in a phased manner in areas not reporting positive cases and containment measures should continue in vulnerable areas. “The situation should be reviewed on May 1,” he said.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan made it clear that the lockdown was unlikely to be lifted in Indore, Bhopal, Ujjain and Khargone on May 3. In fact, the government may add Jabalpur to the list since it has seen a spike in the past two-three days. As for the rest of the state, Chouhan wants the lockdown to be lifted in a staggered manner in line with the Centre’s guidelines.

Karnataka will follow the Centre’s directive and the MHA’s order on neighbourhood standalone shops providing non-essential goods. “The government will issue an order on Sunday or Monday,” chief secretary TM Vijaya Bhaskar told TOI.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot said the state governments should be given the freedom to decide on the lockdown depending on ground situations.

Gujarat deputy CM Nitin Patel, who also holds the health portfolio, said the state government would “strictly follow the Centre’s guidelines”.

The number of coronavirus cases in Indore rose to 1,176 after 91 more people tested positive for the infectious disease in the Madhya Pradesh district during the past 24 hours, an official said on Sunday.

Here is total coronavirus cases in India, state-wise, as on Sunday

Andaman and Nicobar Islands - 33

Andhra Pradesh - 1061

Arunachal Pradesh - 1

Assam - 36

Bihar - 243

Chandigarh - 28

Chhattisgarh - 37

Delhi -2625

Goa - 7

Gujarat - 3071

Haryana - 289

Himachal Pradesh - 40

Jammu and Kashmir - 494

Jharkhand - 67

Karnataka - 500

Kerala - 457

Ladakh - 20

Madhya Pradesh - 2096

Maharashtra - 7628

Manipur - 2

Meghalaya - 12

Mizoram - 1

Odisha - 94

Puducherry - 7

Punjab - 298

Rajasthan - 2083

Tamil Nadu - 1821

Telangana -991

Tripura - 2

Uttarakhand - 48

Uttar Pradesh - 1793

West Bengal - 611

Based on media reports

Image Credit: CNN

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