After Delhi, 5 more states want lockdown extended beyond May 3

Ghughuti Bulletin

A day after the Delhi government said the lockdown would have to be continued till May 16 in the national capital, five states — Maharashtra,
Madhya Pradesh, Bengal, Punjab and Odisha — on Saturday veered towards extending curbs in hotspots of their respective states beyond May 3.

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.

Maharashtra 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. “A discussion on extending the lockdown will be taken in the video conference with the PM on Monday. If required, we will extend the lockdown for 15 more days after May 3. It may only be for the containment zones, if not for the entire Mumbai and Pune,” he said.

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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 opening standalone or neighbourhood shops. “As on today, we are of the opinion that there will be no change in the lockdown order and so we haven’t allowed any new shops to open in the state. We want the status quo to be maintained till May 3,” said Tope.

Yogi Adityanath government in UP, too, 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,” said a senior official.

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 Chhattisgarh government has written to the Centre to allow reopening of economic activities within the state as it has very few Covid-19 cases. As of April 25, there are five positive cases.

In Video:
Covid-19: Delhi, 5 more states want lockdown extension

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