Lockout to stay in COVID-19 hotspot, PM told Chief Ministers: Source

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that “our economy is good”, and indicated in a video meeting with the Chief Ministers that parts of the country badly affected by the coronavirus lockdown infection will continue.

In a video meeting, PM Modi allegedly told the nine chief ministers, “There is no need to worry on the economy front. Our economy is good”.
Five of the nine chief ministers in the meeting said the lockdown should end, while the rest were in favour of expanding it to control the spread of COVID-19.

Sources said that the Prime Minister has asked all the states to formulate their plan on excluding the districts as red, green and orange on the basis of the level of infection. According to sources, economic activity in green and orange areas is likely to reopen.

But any business activity will only be allowed to resume with social distance rules and masks.

Chief Ministers of Bihar, Odisha, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and Union Territory of Puducherry spoke today. From the Northeast, the Chief Ministers of Meghalaya and Mizoram expressed their views. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan halted the meeting and sent the Chief Secretary to represent the state.

The final decision will be taken after May 3, when the lockdown is about to end. States that are relatively less affected by COVID-19 infection can be reopened, especially in districts.

Sources say that the states sought a financial package from the Center.

Restrictions on public transport are likely to continue. Schools and colleges are likely to remain closed and restrictions on religious meetings and gatherings will also continue.