Prime Minister Narendra Modi and home minister Amit Shah met on Friday to discuss the way forward as the coronavirus lockdown, extended thrice, ends on Sunday. A decision is likely tomorrow on whether to extend the restrictions amid the steady rise in virus cases, given the need to reopen economic activity. The meeting comes a day after the home minister spoke to chief ministers to discuss their views on extending the lockdown and future strategy to fight the pandemic. Officials said that the CMs, in meeting with Shah, contended that the lockdown should be extended with considerable relaxation in economic activity.
“I feel lockdown may be extended for 15 more days. However, we demand that there should be some relaxations, say, restaurants should be allowed with social distancing at 50 per cent capacity. Many people also want gyms to resume,” Goa CM Pramod Sawant said he made the suggestion to Amit Shah. This was the first time that the home minister spoke with the CMs about lockdown extension. Notably, India has now become the ninth-worst COVID-19-hit country in the world, overtaking Turkey. India has also surpassed China's death tally of COVID-19 deaths as 175 casualties were reported in the last 24 hours.