PM Modi interacts with leaders of political parties, hints at extension of lockdown as coronavirus COVID-19 cases rise

Holding a meeting with the floor leader of Parliament through video conferencing, PM Modi said that so far the suggestions coming from people, experts suggest that there is a need to lock down and increase.

PM Modi interacts with leaders of political parties, hints at extension of lockdown as coronavirus COVID-19 cases rise

New Delhi: During an interaction with Opposition leaders to discuss the situation arising out of coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (April 8) hinted that the nationwide lockdown will be extended beyond April 14 to contain the fast-spreading virus.

Holding a meeting with the floor leader of Parliament through video conferencing, PM Modi said that so far the suggestions coming from people, experts suggest that there is a need to lock down and increase.

Those participating in the meet included Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, and Nationalist Congress Party head Sharad Pawar.

Apart from Azad and Pawar, others who attended the virtual meet included, Ram Gopal Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Satish Misra (Bahujan Samaj Party), Chirag Paswan (Lok Janshakti Party), T R Baalu (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam), Sukhbir Singh Badal (Shiromani Akali Dal), Rajiv Ranjan Singh (Janata Dal-United), Pinaki Mishra (Biju Janata Dal) and Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena).

Giving up its initial reluctance, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) also attended the interaction. TMC leader Sudip Bandyopadhyay was among the participants.

Sources said these leaders were briefed by secretaries of various ministries---health, home, and rural development ---on the actions taken by the government to tackle COVID-19 and mitigate the hardships arising out of the lockdown.

On April 11, the Prime Minister will hold a meeting with the Chief Ministers of all the states through video conferencing to discuss the lockdown situation.

The surge in COVID-19 cases has led several states to request the central government to extend the 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Congress party's leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary said that the PM has indicated to continue the lockdown in the meeting.

"Prime Minister Modi made it clear that lockdown is not being lifted and also that the life pre-corona and post-corona will not be the same," Biju Janata Dal leader Pinaki Misra told PTI.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rashid Alvi told Zee Media that if the lockdown is not extended, the fight against coronavirus will be weakened. He appreciated the Prime Minister's initiative of taking everybody in confidence but added that more attention should be given to the section which is facing a paucity of food items. 

Rashid Alvi also sought stringent action against the Tablighi Jamaat members who are creating ruckus in the isolation and endangering the life of others.

As per the Union health ministry's Wednesday morning update, there are 149 deaths and 5,194 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country even as the country entered its third week of nationwide lockdown.

India today witnessed 5,149 cases of novel coronavirus while the death toll rose to 149, including 25 new deaths in 12 hours. The active cases stand at 4,643, while 401 people have recovered from the pandemic.