India extends world’s biggest coronavirus lockdown till May 3

India’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the biggest in the world, will be extended until at least May 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

The three-week lockdown of the nation of 1.3 billion people, which started at midnight on March 25, was scheduled to end at midnight on Tuesday.
“From the economic angle, we have paid a big price,” Modi said in a nationwide address. “But the lives of the people of India are far more valuable.”
Modi said some restrictions in areas further away from infection hotspots would be eased on April 20 to help poor people dependent upon daily wages.

“Till April 20, each police station, each district, each state will be monitored closely to see whether the lockdown is being followed and if that area has saved itself from the virus,” he said.

“We can then decide on relaxing restrictions in those areas that are successful in this test, have successfully contained the hotspots and prevented new ones.”

According to official figures, South Asian nations have so far been relatively unscathed by the pandemic, with India reporting more than 10,000 cases and 339 deaths.

But with some of the most crowded cities on the planet, there are fears that numbers could skyrocket and overwhelm shaky healthcare systems.

Some experts have also said India has not conducted enough tests and that the true number of infections is much higher.

Several states, including Maharashtra – which has the highest number of cases – Tamil Nadu and Odisha, have already announced lockdown extension

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