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India extends lockdown till 3rd May

As COVID-19 infections crossed 10,000 cases in India this morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the countrywide lockdown by 19 days until 3rd May.

India’s three-week lockdown was to end at midnight tonight.

In a half-hour televised address to the nation, Modi, however, held out hope that from next Monday, there will be phased relaxation of the lockdown in districts where COVID-19 cases have been contained.

There are several hundred districts in India where there has been not even one case of the infection. In those areas, Modi cautioned, “Even if one new case is reported, the relaxations will be taken back.”

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare here announced this morning that India had so far recorded 10,363 COVID-19 infections of which 1,036 patients have recovered and discharged from hospitals. There have been 339 deaths. A final figure for the day is expected to be announced late evening.

Meanwhile, Modi said restrictions will be tightened further in areas which have become “hotspots” because of a large number of virus positive patients. “Harsh steps will be taken to curtail the spread of coronavirus in these hotspots which will be closely monitored.”

The Prime Minister added that the pandemic had not spread exponentially in India despite the country’s size, population and density of habitat only because the three-week, ongoing lockdown had been pervasive. He thanked people for cooperating with the government’s efforts to contain the Coronavirus.

“You all are like soldiers fighting the virus,” Modi said about the people of India noting that they have been celebrating the traditional harvest and spring festival today from their homes with patience and forbearance.

Almost all over India, today is a day of festivities, known by different names in different states, to mark the start of the food harvesting season and the advent of spring.