With the rapid increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the past two weeks, the 21-day lockdown in India is likely to extend beyond 14 April, a government official revealed.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a video conference with state chiefs in order to get their feedback on whether to extend the 21-nation-wide lockdown to combat COVID-19.
According to sources in the government, most of the state chiefs suggested Modi extend the lockdown given the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.
"He (Modi) told the state chiefs that all the suggestions will be taken into consideration and they will fight the pandemic together. He (Modi) has also told the state chiefs that he is available to all 24/7," the government source said.
The source also stated that seven states have already supported the extension of lockdown with three of them, Punjab, Odisha and Rajasthan, announcing it up to 30 April.
"During the meeting, state chiefs of Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu urged PM Modi to extend the lockdown looking at the rapid increase of cases in the last few days," the source said.
At the meeting, the chiefs also exchanged their plans of combating the virus and implementation of the lockdown more stringently on the hotspots identified in their respective states.
The government has also obtained views on the issue from all the relevant agencies and stakeholders involved in the efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also cautioned the countries to retain travel restrictions and stated "it would like to see it easing but lifting restrictions could lead to deadly resurgence,"
According to the Indian government, there have been 6,565 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while 239 people have died.