Domestic, International commercial flights suspended
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday extended the lockdown by an additional 19 days till May 3 and said any decision on easing restrictions would be taken after April 20, based on a specific epidemiological assessment of the situation.
Addressing the daily briefing, Lav Agarwal, the joint secretary in the Ministry of Health, said 1,211 fresh coronavirus cases and 31 new deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours, taking the number of cases to 10,363 and deaths to 339 in the country. Fresh cases have been reported in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra today.
Lockdown extended till May 3
Announcing the extension of lockdown till May 3, the prime minister in his fourth address to the nation did not mention about any economic package or plan but said that detailed guidelines on how to go about the continuing battle against the pandemic will be released on Wednesday.
Stressing that stringent rules are in place till April 20, the PM said, “Till April 20, we will monitor how well the districts are doing. In places where the situation is improving, few relaxations will be made.”
PM Modi also hinted that the priority would be towards easing the hardships for daily wage earners, the farm sector and essential services.
The PM said the strict lockdown over the next six days was to arrest the transmission of the virus to green areas, where there are few or no cases, to minimize the emergence of newer hotspots in areas with disease outbreak. He also said that while the lockdown have had huge economic costs, it was also helpful in saving millions of lives. “We applied holistic, integrated approach in timely manner,” he said.
Thanking the people for their co-operation, the prime minister said, “There’s a line in the Constitution that reads ‘We the People.’ This is what it signifies. The co-operation and patience shown by the citizens is a fitting tribute to Dr. Ambedkar on his birth anniversary.” After his address, the prime minister changed his twitter bio picture to him wearing a homemade mask.
PM Modi’s 7 tasks for Indians during lockdown
PM also listed seven tasks, for which he sought co-operation from the country in the battle against COVID-19. “We need to follow these seven tasks till May 3.” The seven tasks mentioned by PM Modi are as follows
* Take care of elderly
* Practice social distancing
* Follow AYUSH ministry tips to boost immunity
* Download Aarogya Setu app
* Look after the needy
* Don’t sack people from jobs
* Respect COVID-19 fighters
Railways, airlines extend suspension of services
The Indian Railways has also extended the suspension of its passenger services till May 3. The railways said no advance booking of train tickets will be allowed till further notice. All domestic and international commercial passenger flights will also remain suspended till May 3.
602 hospitals earmarked for COVID-19 patients
The Health Ministry said a total of 602 hospitals have been earmarked as dedicated COVID-19 facilities in coordination with states with a capacity of 1,06,719 isolation beds and 12,024 ICU beds reserved for such patients in the country.
Lav Agarwal, the joint secretary in the Ministry of Health, said that to break the virus chain in a particular area, not a single case should be reported from there for at least 28 days. “If no case is reported for 28 days from a particular area, we can say that we have been able to break the chain of transmission there,” he said.
According to an ICMR official, 2.31 lakh tests have been conducted so far for COVID-19. “We have tested 2.31 lakh samples, so far, including 21,635 samples yesterday. Out of these 18,644 were done in ICMR network of labs. We have enough kits to cover for a very long time,” a senior ICMR official said.