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Covid-19: Centre may extend lockdown after Apr 14 as states, experts make reque…

Telangana CM requested PM Modi to extend the lockdown, while a top Uttar Pradesh bureaucrat said the state may not lift the lockdown on April 14. (HT photo)

The Centre is mulling extending the 21-day lockdown, which will end on April 14, till the end of the month after many states and experts made a request for it, sources in the government said on Tuesday.

Just on Monday, Telangana chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had said he will appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus in the country. It was announced on March 24 by the Prime Minister.

Rao also cautioned that if the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted it could cost lives.

Before KCR, as the Telangana chief minister is popularly known, a top bureaucrat in Uttar Pradesh also hinted that the lockdown may not be lifted in the state on April 14.

A senior bureaucrat in Punjab has also favoured an extension of the lockdown. On Friday, a minister in Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in the country, also said that the restriction should not end on April 14.

The lockdown came into effect on March 25, a day after Prime Minister Modi addressed the nation, saying that the step was being taken to break the chain of infection and control the spread of coronavirus disease Covid-19. He also urged people to avoid travel and stay wherever they are.

Earlier today, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said the final week of the ongoing lockdown is “critical” for evolving an exit strategy as data regarding the spread of coronavirus will have a bearing on the decision to be taken by the government.

He also appealed to the people to abide by whatever decision is ultimately taken by the government and cooperate with the same spirit that has so far been evident “even if it meant to continue with some degree of hardship still beyond April 14”.

“As today marks the completion of two weeks of nationwide lockdown in force since March 25, I thought it appropriate to reach out to the people and the leadership of the country with my views and concerns amidst current efforts to tide over the crisis caused by the outbreak of coronavirus,” Naidu said in a statement.

The lockdown, acknowledged by experts as a necessary preventive measure, has disrupted economic activity and caused an exodus of migrant workers from cities towards their villages.

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