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It’s official: Lockdown to stay till May 3, says PM Modi

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on April 14, 2020 Published on April 14, 2020

Addressing the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also exhorted citizens to follow seven steps in their fight against Covid-19.   -  PTI

Low-risk areas may be opened up from April 20 with riders

Ending all speculations on the government’s position with respect to the lockdown to battle Covid-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a rather firm tone, said the decision to extend the nation-wide lockdown till May 3 was crucial to contain the spread of the virus to newer districts.

The earlier 21-day lockdown ended on April 14. Modi also suggested that low-risk areas could be opened up for certain specific activities from April 20, but with certain caveats.

‘Closely monitor hot-spots’

“We must not let coronavirus spread to new areas at any cost. A single new patient at even the smallest local level, should be a matter of concern for us,” said Modi.

He added, “We have to be very vigilant about hot-spots. We will have to keep a close and strict watch on the places which run the risk of becoming hot-spots. The creation of new hot-spots will further challenge our hard work.”

Modi said, “Until April 20, 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 April 20”.

“However, permissions will be withdrawn immediately if lockdown rules are broken, and if there is threat of spread of coronavirus,” he cautioned. Detailed guidelines will be issued by the government tomorrow in this regard.

The Prime Minister exhorted the citizens to follow seven steps in their fight against the pandemic: to take special care of the elderly; to completely adhere to the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of lockdown and social distancing; use homemade face-covers and masks without fail; to follow the instructions issued by the AYUSH Ministry to enhance immunity; to download the Arogya Setu Mobile App; to take care of poor families and not deprive them of their livelihood; to pay utmost respect to corona warriors — doctors and nurses, sanitation workers and police force.

Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said: “Guidelines to this effect will be issued soon, and it will also be decided if permission to select activities could be withdrawn in case new cases of Covid-19 emerge from those areas where lockdown has been eased.”

 

The Centre has changed the testing strategies to expand the scope of the number of persons it can bring under surveillance. The office of the Principal Scientific Advisor has issued guidelines stating that patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms — fever, chills, dry cough, running nose — should immediately report to the nearest ASHA, Anganwadi or frontline worker.

However, the Health Ministry is yet to clarify if all ILI patients are eligible to be tested for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Indian Railways, which cancelled operations of passenger trains till May 3, has decided to stop taking ticket bookings for travel even beyond May 3.

Published on April 14, 2020

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