India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the lockdown to May 3. Modi appreciated the discipline Indians have shown during the 21-day lockdown which has enabled the country to place a check on the spread of COVID-19. Modi rated the effort a success as he announced its extension to May 3, extending it for another 3 weeks.
“In my discussions with the state governments, and various stakeholders, one thing was unanimous: That we should extend the lockdown. So, I announce today that the lockdown will be extended till May 3,” PM Modi said.
Modi asked his countrymen to be alert and help prevent the spread of the disease. “We will impose more stringent measures in the next week. Till April 20, we will evaluate how different states are dealing with the pandemic. States which will not let hotspots increase, they could be allowed to let some important activities resume, but with certain conditions,” PM Modi said.
|COVID-19 Analysis: 30 March 2020 – 13 April 2020 (Bharat Times, Melbourne.)|
|Source: COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for CSSE at JHU, US.|
“The fight is moving ahead with strength. I know the hardships you faced, you are fulfilling your duties and I respectfully bow to the people of India for their sacrifice,” the PM said in his address
“People have saved the country while facing difficulties,” he added.
Referring to the Preamble to the Constitution of India, Modi said: “Our constitution talks about ‘We the People’. The spirit was displayed during this period”.
While there was some speculation, opposing the lockdown extension, that some sort of staggered easing of restrictions may be advocated in the safest of safe areas, there was none. While the small numbers of infections (9205 as at 13 April 2020) and deaths (331 as at 13 April 2020) in a country of 1.3 billion was being bandied around, the PM must have been mindful of the astronomical increases in both infections (798%) and deaths (1125%) in a fortnight between 30 March and 13 April (See table above).. And there is still a potential of things getting out of hand. No leader would have any appetite to be careless and irresponsible. And Modi, definitely not.
Times are such that Modi, who is so used to be a frequent flyer, performing on the world stage, has addressed his countrymen for a third time in less than an month. On March 19, Modi announcing the lockdown for 21 days, exhorted his countrymen to stay determined and patient in the fight against the global pandemic. He requested senior citizens to remain indoors and called for a “people’s curfew” on March 22 to demonstrate their unity and resolve.
What followed was a total grounding of all economic activity including halting commercial flights and train journeys, taking public transport off the streets, closing schools and colleges and shutting the industrial production.
Now that the lockdown has been extended, authorities have some time on their side to plan, if there is any surge in numbers.