Lockdown may extend till July!

Representational image. (PTI)

New Delhi: As COVID-19 cases continue to spike across the country and India having gained the 10th spot among the pandemic hit nations, the Centre is likely to extend the lockdown till June 15.

Highly placed sources said that with Lockdown 4.0 coming to an end on May 31, the Centre is learnt to be actively considering the option of further extending it by another two weeks.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) will seek reports from all the states on the various measures taken by them during the Lockdown 4.0 (i.e. the period between May 18 and May 31), and then take a final call on the matter.
Sources indicated that the Prime Minister may not convene a meeting with chief ministers to discuss the extension this time.

Lockdown 4.0 had begun on May 18 and is scheduled to end on May 31, However, with India recording spikes in COVID-19 cases, especially in the past one week, the Centre, despite having partially opened air and rail travel, is not keen to completely remove all restrictions at one go, sources in the know indicated.

From 1,16,744 infected cases on May 21, the number of COVID-19 cases had jumped to 1,38,845 as on May 24 in the country. The death toll in India has also crossed the 4,000 mark with India also gaining the dubious distinction of entering the 10th spot among the top 10 COVID-19 affected nations.

Under such a scenario, the Centre is inclined towards adopting a cautious approach towards handling the situation arising out of the pandemic. The government is closely monitoring the situation after it partially opened the air and rail traffic.

As state governments have been given a free hand in deciding on their protocols regarding putting passengers arriving by air under quarantine or not, how the response to the opening of air and rail travel pans out in the next few days, may also influence the government’s future move regarding the lockdown, sources hinted.

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