Covid-19: V-P Naidu hints at lockdown extension, says 'health over economy'

Naidu said he expected that governments will ensure smooth functioning of supply chains and adequate relief and support for the vulnerable sections.
As the Centre weighs the economic costs of the 21-day lockdown, and a calibrated exit from it April 14 onwards, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday said health concerns should take precedence over that of economic stabilisation in deciding the post-lockdown roadmap.

In a statement on the completion of two weeks of the lockdown today, Naidu said the third week of the lockdown, which starts Wednesday, would be crucial for decision making on the exit.

The Vice President said that the data regarding the extent and rate of spread of virus infection will have a bearing on the exit strategy. He appealed to the people to abide by whatever decision follows on April 14, and cooperate with the same spirit that has so far been demonstrated even if hardships were to continue after April 14.

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Naidu said he expected that governments will ensure smooth functioning of supply chains and adequate relief and support for the vulnerable sections.

He said the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in the national capital and its fallout happened just as efforts for flattening the coronavirus curve were bearing fruits. He termed it an avoidable aberration and an eye opener for others.

“Between the considerations of the health of the people and stabilization of our economy being debated, the former shall take precedence over the later. In my view, while the concerns of economy can wait for another day, that of health can’t,” Naidu stated.

On the Tablighi Jamaat congregation, he said it has altered the nature of the curve with most of the new infected cases emanating from this meet. “The extent of participation in this congregation and its multiplier effect has upset our expectations,” Naidu said.

The VP said that the duration of the fight against the virus may be uncertain at the moment but we shall triumph in the end. “Let’s live with the hardship a little longer for a better tomorrow,” he said.



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