New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday held a video conference with the Chief Ministers of all the states to discuss the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in the country. PM Modi said the Chief Ministers that he is available round the clock to take any suggestions and also assured to assist the State governments in jointly tackling the pandemic that has already infected more than 7000 people and killed more than 230 others in the entire country. As per sources, a collective decision taken during the video conferencing has hinted towards extension of nationwide lockdown for a period of two more weeks till April 30.
Even Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal took to Twitter to confirm the same.
PM has taken correct decision to extend lockdown. Today, India’s position is better than many developed countries because we started lockdown early. If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost. To consolidate, it is imp to extend it
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 11, 2020
Modi, who wore a cloth mask during the meeting said, "I am available 24x7. Any Chief Minister can speak to me and give suggestions (on COVID-19) anytime." He said that we all should stand together shoulder-to-shoulder in the fight against this disease. The cloth mask worn by the Prime Minister was a gesture towards the public to adopt universal use of masks, as the central government, last week said that people can use homemade, reusable cloth masks as an alternative to factory-made ones to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
This is the third time that Modi held a video conferencing meeting with the Chief Ministers to discuss the steps taken to contain the spread of COVID-19 across the country.
The initial visuals of the meeting showed Modi wearing a white mask during the interaction which was attended by chief ministers -- Amrinder Singh (Punjab), Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal), Uddhav Thackeray (Maharashtra), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh), Manohar Lal (Haryana), K Chandrashekhar Rao (Telangana), Naveen Patnaik (Odisha) and Nitish Kumar (Bihar).
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins interaction with chief ministers through video conferencing on current #COVID19 situation in the country #IndiaFightsCorona #COVID_19 #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/HtJ6PQ4NE1
— OTV (@otvnews) April 11, 2020
Participating in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's video conference with all the Chief Ministers, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh recommended extension of the national lockdown by at least a fortnight, while suggesting a slew of health and relief measures to the people in the state's COVID-19 battle.
Similarly, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal during the video conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi also emphasised on extending the nationwide lockdown and said the decision should be taken at the national level.
According to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader, "The decision to continue the lockdown should be taken at a national level." Kejriwal also stressed that if the states decide the length of the lockdown on their own, then the fight against the coronavirus would not be effective.
Read More: Death toll due to COVID-19 rises to 239; cases climb to 7,447 in India
Citing several other measures, Kejriwal said that in case of easing the suspension of lockdown, the transport services should not be opened.
On Saturday, the number of COVID-19 patients in India rose to 7,447 with 239 deaths across the country.
(With agency inputs)