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All about PM Modi’s conference meet with CMs of the states, final Decisions are awaited

As the number of cases rises to 7,447 according to the Union Ministry of Health, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducts a video conference with the Chief Ministers of the states to take a final call on the extension of the lockdown past 14 April and to discuss the exit strategy.

Before the commencement of the conference, Islampur in Maharashtra which was a major hotspot with more than 26 cases was declared Corona-free. Further, the Nepal-India borders were tightened as intelligence indicated that corona infected patients were attempting to enter the country. Congress leader P. Chidambaram urged the Prime Minister to allocate more funds for the poor in the hours prior to the conference. The Ministry of Home Affairs also prohibited the use of chewing smoking tobacco to prevent the spread of the virus.

“State Action”

States such as Uttar Pradesh and Delhi have already begun sealing off hotspots, while states such as West Bengal under Mamta Banarjee have also implemented lockdown in 10 hotspots for 10 days. Odisha and Punjab have been the first states to implement state lockdown till 30 April.

“Video Conference”

The Video conference began at 11:30 am and most ministers including Prime Minister Narendra Modi were seen wearing a mask.

“States pushing for lockdown”

It was stated that the fishing and aquaculture industry may be allowed to continue their
operations and be exempted from the lockdown by the orders of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray sported a mask as well during the conference and has been one of the most vocal CMs pushing for the extension of the lockdown till 30 April at least as Maharashtra cases have crossed 1,666 as of today.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal stated that though several states have implemented a lockdown till the 30 April, these would prove to be quite ineffective unless done at a national level. Further, he added that in case the lockdown is not extended, transportation via road, rail or air should not be opened. Kejriwal opposed the idea of a staggered exit strategy as phase-lifting may not be effective.

Punjab CM also moved in support of the extension of the lockdown. He asked for a faster and greater supply of kits and testing as well as special risk insurance for all government employees working at the frontlines. He added that there was an urgent need for special concessions and relief for industry and agriculture.

Ten states including Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, and Punjab supported the demand for extension and have voted in favor of it. It was stated that the areas identified as hotspots across the country will be under stringent and strict lockdown. Other states and districts which have not been affected will be allowed some relaxation, however, all the proper international health protocols are to be followed.

“Bengaluru not to seal areas”

Bengaluru Commissioner BH Anil Kumar urged residents to not panic and said no areas in the city are being sealed due to the coronavirus, adding that barricades are being put in certain areas so that “people don’t venture outside.”

“Madhya Pradesh Opposes”The CM of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan opposed the extension for the lockdown during the meeting. He urged for further measures to be taken including more PPEs, testing and has reportedly increased hospitals to provide treatment.

“Modi’s statement”

PM Narendra Modi stated during the video conference stated that “The state and center need to work together, all your suggestions will be taken into consideration…we will move shoulder to shoulder as we fight COVID-19 together..” He also added that a common strategy needs to be followed to defeat the pandemic and overcome the losses incurred. He said that he would be available 24X7 on phone and that the CMs should write their suggestions to him to ensure that they are taken into consideration in decision making.

“Meeting ends”

The meeting ended at 2:35 PM after a lot of discussions. Five states including Maharashtra and Punjab have pushed for the extension of the lockdown till 30 April to prevent the spread of the pandemic. The Prime Minister is yet to make a decision on the situation as to whether India will opt for a staggered exit from the lockdown or if the lockdown will be extended.

Update 8:10 p.m – Later in the evening, CM of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that the Prime Minister had taken the correct decision in extending the 21-day national lockdown. He also stated that as India had gone under lockdown in the early stages of the spread of the pandemic, our situation is better than most developed nations and that India must continue to persist to fight against the disease. Though there has been no official statement by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue yet, most citizens had logically concluded that the lockdown would be extended. Kejriwal’s tweet further solidified these assumptions.

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