Not possible to lift lockdown on April 14’: PM Modi hints at all-party meeting

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday stressed ‘lockdown is the only way to save our people’ as he signalled that the Centre may not lift the nationwide restrictions in one go on April 14. PM Modi’s message to political parties came as the number of Covid-19 cases breached the 5000-mark in the country.

The Prime Minister talked about the complete lockdown during a meeting with floor leaders of Parliament via video conference to discuss several key issues related to dealing with the spread of coronavirus.

Several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka, have called for its enforcement beyond April 14, saying that the threat of Covid-19 would be easier to handle if it is kept in place for a longer period of time.

Life will not be the same again after the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister said and added there would be “pre-corona and post-corona” for times to come.

“I am regularly talking to CMs, districts and experts. Nobody is telling me to lift the lockdown. We need strict rules to maintain social distancing. We have to take many unexpected steps too,” PM Modi said.

“I will talk again to the chief ministers. But as of now, the mood is that entire lockdown lifting is not possible. We are also talking at district levels. For us, lockdown is the only way to save our people,” PM Modi added.

The Prime Minister will hold another round of conference with all chief ministers on April 11. He had earlier held another conference with the CMs to discuss the pandemic response.

“We have been trying to make quick decisions and today India is one of the few countries in the world where the spread of this virus is still under control,” he said.

“We also have to keep in mind that every day, situations are changing. So, all countries are banking on social distancing and lockdown. These are the only two ways to tackle corona,” he added.

The number of Covid-19 cases in India reached 5,194, the Union health ministry data showed, and 145 have so far died of the disease.

Experts have said that the lockdown is the only way to contain the spread of the infection and if it is lifted it could lead to a rise in the number of cases.

The sweeping lockdown, at the same time, has worried others that it would hurt the already slowing economy.