In his fourth address to the nation on the Coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extended the nationwide lockdown till May 3 even as India continues to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Starting his address, the prime minister equated the people of India to soldiers fighting to protect their nation and expressed gratitude for their sacrifice.
He said the country will be under strict restrictions till April 20 and then some relaxations could be made following the assessment of the situation at the time.
"Areas that show a good record or no increase in numbers, and can contain hotspots, will be given some relaxation to resume activities," he said. This, the prime minister said, was being done keeping in mind the difficulties faced by the poor. However, there was no announcement of any package for the daily wage labourers, construction workers and farmers, something the Opposition parties have been demanding, following a massive reverse migration triggered by the first announcement of lockdown last month.
The prime minister said the detailed guidelines on the implementation of the new lockdown will be announced on Wednesday.
"If the rules of the lockdown are broken and if the virus comes back, all the relaxations will be rescinded," Modi said, adding, "don't be careless and don't let others be careless either."
The prime minister said testing for the infection was being done at 220 labs in India. "According to the world's experience of tackling COVID-19, 1500-1600 beds are needed when cases reach 10,000. We have over 1 lakh beds in India and over 600 hospitals for treating COVID patients. We're expanding these facilities," he said.
He said India has managed to contain the spread of infection well due to its holistic approach in dealing with the crisis and sacrifices made by people of the country in the fight produced positive results.
Modi said India received huge benefits from the 21-day lockdown in checking the pandemic and added that the country has dealt with the situation better with limited resources.
(With inputs from agencies)
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