After Odisha, Punjab extends lockdown

The Punjab government announced an extension of the ongoing lockdown till May 1, becoming the second state after Odisha to do so. Even as several state governments have in a previous meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested an extension of the nationwide lockdown and are set to do so yet again on Saturday when they are scheduled for yet another video conference with the PM, states are unilaterally extending the lockdown under their own jurisdiction. “Given the seriousness of the situation arising out of Covid19, Cabinet has decided to extend lockdown and curfew till May 1. These are difficult times and I appeal to all to ‘Stay Home Stay Safe’ and strictly observe health safeguards as you have done so far, for which I am thankful,” Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh tweeted on Friday evening after meeting his cabinet ministers.

Apart from Odisha and Punjab, state governments of Rajasthan, Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi are also set to yet again make a case for an extension of the nationwide lockdown during their interaction with PM Modi on Saturday. With several festivals starting this weekend, the Centre on Friday issued a directive to all state governments to ensure that no mass gatherings were held to observe religious festivals and sought strict implementation of the lockdown. Meanwhile, Singh maintained that “since the lockdown could not be indefinite”, his government was also looking for “ways to extricate the state from the restrictions and enable it to function with the novel coronavirus around” “A high-powered committee with several doctors, medical and other experts, was examining the situation and will soon submit its report on the lockdown exit strategy,” Singh said.

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