PM Modi, Amit Shah discuss lockdown; curbs may be eased further | India News


NEW DELHI: Home minister Amit Shah met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to discuss the ongoing lockdown as well as the way ahead post-May 31, amid indications that curbs will be further eased with states being allowed more leeway to impose restrictions with key decisions to be taken on restarting Metros and opening malls and facilities like gyms.
The assessment as lockdown 4.0 ends is that the easing has so far not led to a spike — as distinct from a rise — in Covid-19 numbers while the challenge lies in a few states where cases are growing more steeply. The impact of the return of lakhs of migrant workers on the Covid-19 graph is being watched closely and may take some more time to figure out. However, the current trend of cases, though growing in numbers, is seen to be manageable and could encourage more steps to reopen the economy.
The home minister’s meeting with the PM came a day after Shah reached out to all chief ministers to assess the lockdown situation and seek their views on the future strategy to contain the spread of Covid-19. There is a view that while easing has helped, the night “curfew” between 7 pm and 7 am is a help in terms of maintaining discipline of social distancing.
Sources in the home ministry said Shah briefed Modi in detail on his consultations with chief ministers on how the more relaxed lockdown had progressed and the status of coronavirus infections in their jurisdictions, and their expectations on ‘opening up’ after lockdown 4.0 ended.
According to sources, many chief ministers pitched for extending curbs on activities involving large public congregations but at the same time, favoured opening up economic activity as much as possible to allow people to go back to earning their livelihoods.
The Centre, as per sources close to a chief minister, is considering leaving it largely to the states to demarcate their containment zones and strategies, as also the extent to which they want lockdown curbs to stay. This may mean that barring a small ‘negative’ list of activities prohibited nationwide, such as international flights and reopening of schools and colleges, everything may be left to the states and UTs which can formulate their policies. Barring in containment zones, normal business and economic activity may be allowed to fully resume, subject to judgment of the individual states, hinted a source.
Based on Friday’s discussions between the PM and the home minister, the containment strategy and norms are likely to be spelt out in the next couple of days.

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