Amid Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interaction with Chief Ministers of all states on Saturday, sources revealed that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stated that the lockdown should be increased till 30 April. Sources further reported that CM Kejriwal suggested to the Centre that the extension should be decided on a national level and not by the State governments.
On a similar note, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray also backed the decision of extending the lockdown, sources added. Currently, the highest number of cases have been reported from Maharashtra with a tally of 1,547 Coronavirus positive cases and 110 deaths.
The meeting is key for the decision on the extension of the 21-day lockdown ending on April 14 happened through video conferencing. To check the spread of coronavirus, PM Modi had on March 25 announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. While many states' CMs have indicated that the central government should extend the lockdown across the country, PM Modi led government is yet to announce its decision. In Saturday's meeting, the PM and all the CMs were seen wearing masks amid rising coronavirus cases, and some state's directive making mask compulsory.
Meanwhile, on Friday, the Odisha government under Naveen Patnaik became the first to extend lockdown till May 1. Punjab government under Amarinder Singh followed and extended the lockdown till May 30. In a late-night decision, CM Ashok Gehlot also extended the lockdown in Rajasthan till May 30.
This is for the second time the Prime Minister will interact with the Chief Ministers via video link after the lockdown was imposed. During his April 2 interaction with Chief Ministers, Modi had pitched for a "staggered" exit from the ongoing lockdown. Before the lockdown was announced on March 24, the Prime Minister had interacted with State heads on March 20 to discuss means to check the spread of the deadly virus.
Meanwhile, as per the Health Ministry, India has conducted 1,44,910 tests on 130,792 suspected COVID-19 patients in 146 government and 67 private laboratories. The country till Saturday reported 1,035 new cases in the last 24 hours, the sharpest ever increase in cases and 40 deaths, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 7,447 and 239 deaths. Over 642 patients have recovered and been discharged.