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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a video conference with Chief Ministers to discuss the Coronavirus situation and indicated that the lockdown would continue in hotspot areas and other places hit badly by the coronavirus. However, he said a final decision on the way forward can be taken only after May 3. He asked Chief Ministers to keep an action plan ready after considering the gravity of the situation in their respective states. During the video conference, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance for states to enforce guidelines strictly in the hotspots, that is, the Red Zone areas. He said efforts of the states should be directed towards converting the Red Zones into Orange and thereafter to Green Zones. Quoting experts, he said the impact of coronavirus will remain visible in the coming months. The Prime Minister said lockdown has yielded positive results and the country managed to save thousands of lives in the past one and a half months. The PM also said that the economy cannot be ignored as “we continue the fight against COVID-19”. Most of the Chief Ministers said the lockdown should end, but Naveen Patnaik of Odisha and Conrad Sangma of Meghalaya suggested that lockdown be extended.

The west Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee was also present at the meeting but the Kerala chief minister P Vijayan was respresented by his chief secretary.

This was Modi’s third such interaction with state chief ministers since March 22 when he discussed coronavirus situation and steps taken – both by the Centre and the states – to contain the pandemic. Two days later on March 24, Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. He extended the lockdown by 19 days on April 14, the last day of the initial three week shutdown, till May 3.

It has been learnt that the Centre has prepared a mega plan to deal with the pandemic. The government has decided to focus on 27 distrcits spread across 11 states which have almost 70 per cent of corona cases. Till May 3 strict restrictions will be imposed in these districts while some relaxation will be given in less affected districts. The government is hopeful that by thye first week of May the corona cases will stabilise in the country.

The government is especially worried about Ahmedabad, Surat and Vadodara in Gujarat and Mumbai, Than and Pune districts in Maharashtra where situation is getting out of hand.

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