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Blockade in India: The Center can extend the blockade as several states support it | India News

NEW DELHI: The Center is considering extending the national shutdown for three weeks beyond April 14 to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. In recent days, a succession of state governments, such as Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab and now Madhya Pradesh, have come out in favor of retaining all or most of the existing curves.

While a final decision is expected closer to the deadline, current thinking seems inclined to prolong most restrictions, especially those aimed at imposing social distancing.

The probability of lifting the lid on public transportation (trains, subways, and flights) and on the interstate movement of people seems remote.

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Official sources said the Center is taking into account input from state and public health experts who believe that while the infection rate shows signs of stabilization, there is a risk of resurgence if the gains made so far by containing the spread do not are blocked.

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While there is clear recognition in the government of the enormous economic costs of a blockade, the overriding concern at this time is first to face the most immediate danger, according to people familiar with the situation.

There may be some scope to reopen some services and amenities other than pharmacies and grocery stores; In addition, there could be a differentiated approach towards big cities and virus hotspots, on the one hand, and less vulnerable parts of the country, on the other.

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The significance is being read in Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu’s statement on Tuesday: “Between considerations of people’s health and the stabilization of our disputed economy, the former will take precedence over the latter. In my opinion, while the concerns of the economy can wait another day, the health one no. I appeal to people to abide by any decisions that leaders finally make and cooperate in the ongoing national effort … even if that means continuing to some degree of difficulty even beyond April 14. ”

Contributions from states and other sectors were considered at a meeting of the empowered GoM led by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday. Options such as odd and even and limits on the number of people in passenger vehicles are said to be on the table. The list of exemptions that includes activities related to harvesting and supplying daily necessities could be expanded. Some district administrations have allowed repairmen and caregivers to carry out their duties.

Covid-19’s hotspot focus containment approach and high-risk areas makes it difficult to even consider inter-district movement on a significant scale, leaving only interstate movement apart from categories like cargo that have been allowed .

“It is not about opening state borders,” said a senior government official. “Although no formal decision has yet been made, comments so far suggest that relaxing restrictions would be very risky,” he added. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a video message to BJP workers on Monday, emphasized that the battle against the pandemic would be a long one, hinting at the possibility that the blockade would be extended.

Several chief ministers, including Shivraj Singh Chouhan of MP and K Chandrasekhar Rao of Telangana, have suggested that the blockade continue beyond April 14. Any decision made would be made in consultations with states, senior government officials said.

Government sources said the prime minister is making a concerted attempt to develop a political consensus on the strategy to combat the challenge. He has already held phone conversations with prominent politicians, including former presidents, former PMs, and party presidents. Additionally, he has had video interactions with CM twice since the crash was announced. Modi will interact with the floor leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Wednesday as part of yet another exercise towards political consensus.

Times of India