New Delhi: As India moves towards the end of the third phase of the ongoing nationwide lockdown, announced in a bid to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 8 PM tonight. Also Read - Amid Lockdown, PM Modi Calls For 'Balanced Strategy' to Fight COVID-19 as Cases Across India Near 70,000-Mark
The Prime Minister’ address will come a day after he chaired his fifth meeting with the Chief Ministers over the issue of the lockdown extension.
In the meeting on Monday, different Chief Ministers gave different views on opening the lockdown. While five states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Telangana, urged the PM to extend the lockdown, at least by two more weeks, some other Chief Ministers, like Delhi’s Arvind Kejriwal and Andhra Pradesh’s Jagan Mohan Reddy were in favour of reopening some economic activities.
However, the general sense coming from the meeting was that while the lockdown will indeed be extended, with several relaxations, it will be considerably less severe than the previous phases, including the current one.
Notably, the lockdown originally came in effect on March 25, after being announced by PM Modi the previous night. It was to end on April 14 but was, on the day, extended till May 3. Then, on May 1, the Home Ministry announced yet another extension-this time by two weeks, till May 17.
With a spike of 3,604 cases in the last 24 hours, India’s current COVID-19 count stands at 70,756, including 22,455 patients who have been cured, as well as 2,293 casualties.