Did government just gave a hint of Lockdown extension again?

The nationwide COVID-19 lockdown is likely to be extended for a third time beyond May 17 but more restrictions may be eased in areas that are not severely affected, government sources told NDTV on Monday, following an online meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and state chief ministers.

Restrictions like a night curfew and curbs on public transport may continue in areas designated as Red Zones, sources said. PM Modi has asked states to send in suggestions for changes to the current rules by May 15.

“I am of the firm view that the measures needed in the first phase of lockdown were not needed during the second phase and similarly the measures needed in the third phase are not needed in the fourth,” the Prime Minister said, according to a statement released after the meeting.

Government sources say a number of states have asked for the lockdown to be extended but limited to areas worst hit by the crisis. They have also requested for Red Zones to be changed from entire districts to just containment zones.

Battered by the fallout of the lockdown that is now in its sixth week, many states are in favour of resuming economic activity outside containment zones.

“We now have reasonably clear indication as to the geographical spread of the pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas. Moreover, over the past few weeks, officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the district level,” PM Modi said.

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