New Delhi: As the country gets ready for the fourth phase of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown from May 18, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Friday held several meetings with officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) ahead of the announcement of the guidelines for ‘lockdown 4.0.’ Also Read - After PM Modi's 'Vocal For Local' Call, Amit Shah Says Only Made-in-India Products in CAPF Canteens From June 1

Notably, the Home Minister, who was at his office in North Block for over five hours, met top officials of the ministry, including Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla. Also Read - 'Not Suffering From Any Disease', Home Minister Amit Shah Refutes Rumours About His Ill-Health; 4 Held

While officials have been busy preparing guidelines for the fourth phase of the lockdown, details regarding the Home Minister’s meetings were not available immediately. Also Read - Gujarat Registers Sharp Rise in COVID-19 Cases, Amit Shah Summons Medical Experts From AIIMS

With the ongoing third phase of the lockdown scheduled to end on May 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to the nation Tuesday night, had announced that the lockdown would be extended, adding, however, that it would be in a ‘completely new form,’ hinting at greater relaxations during the fourth phase.

The details, he said, will be announced before May 18.

During this phase, public transport is likely to reopen, albeit, of course, with certain restrictions. Airlines, too, are likely to resume services. Schools, however, are expected to remain closed.

With over 85,000 positive cases of coronavirus, India has now overtaken China and has the 11th highest COVID-19 tally in the world.

(With PTI Inputs)