Lockdown will not be lifted in one go, will consult CMs: PM to Opposition

Modi's comments came during an interaction with these leaders to discuss the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the three-week lockdown of the country is unlikely to be eased on April 14, as it’s important to save lives from the coronavirus, a senior politician told journalists after meeting him along with other politicians. 

 "It is likely that the government may extend the lockdown," said Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Congress party's leader in Lok Sabha . 

"Prime Minister Modi made it clear that lockdown is not being lifted and also that the life pre-corona and post-corona will not be the same," Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Misra told PTI.

Modi's comments came during an interaction with these leaders to discuss the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government's efforts to contain the fast-spreading virus in the country. Another leader, who participated in the meeting but did not wish to be named, said the Prime Minister told them that he will also consult chief ministers.

The meet comes amidst indications that the Centre may extend the lockdown across the country beyond April 14 after several states have favoured the extension to contain the fast-spreading virus, as the positive cases in the country show no signs of any let-up.

As per the Union health ministry's Wednesday morning update, there are 149 deaths and 5,194 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country even as the country entered its third week of nationwide lockdown.

Those who participated in the meet included Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, and Nationalist Congress Party head Sharad Pawar. Giving up its initial reluctance, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) also attended the interaction. TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay was among the participants.

This is the prime minister's first interaction with the floor leaders, including those from the Opposition, after the imposition of the nationwide lockdown on March 25 though he had held interactions with chief ministers of all states including those ruled by non-NDA parties.

The prime minister has also held interactions with various stakeholders, including doctors, journalists and heads of Indian missions to get feedback on ways to check the spread of coronavirus.

He also recently spoke to various political party heads including Congress' Sonia Gandhi, TMC's Mamata Banerjee and DMK's MK Stalin and discussed the COVID-19 situation. He had also talked to former presidents Pratibha Patil and Pranab Mukherjee, and former prime ministers HD Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh.

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Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government is set to seal parts of 15 districts most affected by the coronavirus from Wednesday midnight till April 15. Only home delivery and medical teams will be allowed during the seal-off, said, R K Tiwari, Chief Secretary of the state. The government assures 100 per cent home delivery of essential items in these areas, he said. The list of districts includes Lucknow, Gautam Buddh Nagar, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Agra, Shamli and Saharanpur.

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