New Delhi: All eyes are set on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with the chief ministers of the states and Union Territories (UTs), which is scheduled to be held on April 11, Saturday. The video conference meet comes amidst media reports which claimed that the central government may extend the lockdown across the country after several states favoured the extension to contain COVID-19 or coronavirus spread. The 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by PM Modi will end on April 14, Tuesday. Also Read - 32 Million Livelihoods at Risk, Economy to Shrink 20% if Lockdown Continues in India Till Mid-May

In today’s meeting, PM Modi will reportedly be seeking feedback from CMs over the prospect of lifting the lockdown. Notably, this will be the second time, the Prime Minister will be interacting with the chief ministers via video link after the lockdown was imposed. Also Read - 'Don’t Allow Religious Gatherings, Processions During Lockdown', MHA Directs States

On April 2, PM Modi had called on the chief ministers and had pitched for a ‘staggered’ exit from the ongoing lockdown. The states were asked to give their suggestions on which services should be allowed to function first and for which restrictions can be lifted later. Also Read - COVID-19: Will Government Extend Lockdown by 3 More Weeks to Flatten The Curve? Know Here

Meanwhile, reports have claimed that Modi, after meeting with Chief Ministers, will also hold a follow-up meeting in the Prime Minister Office (PMO) with all the government of India’s stakeholders on April 12, after which he is expected to announce decision on extending nationwide lockdown on Sunday evening.

Government sources had earlier asserted that an abrupt withdrawal was never on the table. “The efforts of social distancing for 21 days will go in vain, if trains and flights are allowed to function normally from the 22nd day after the pan-India shutdown was announced by PM Modi”, top govt sources had insisted.

After Odisha, Punjab Becomes Second State to Extend Lockdown

On Friday, the Punjab Cabinet led by Captain Amarinder Singh decided to extend curfew in the state till May 1. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Council of Ministers to check community spread of the pandemic and to prevent overcrowding at the amandis’ in the light of the ensuing wheat harvesting and procurement season. Reports said that Singh will convey the decision to Prime Minister Narendra Modi today.

Prior to Punjab, the Odisha government had extended the lockdown period till April 30 to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. It was also decided to keep the educational institutions closed till June 17. Odisha was the first state in the country which extended the lockdown period by another 15 days.

With Over 6,700 Cases, 206 Deaths, COVID-19 Wreaks Havoc in India

Situation turned grim as number of positive COVID-19 cases soared to 6,716 in India, including 6039 active cases, 516 discharged/recovered/migrated patients and 206 deaths. “With 37 fresh fatalities, 896 new cases in last 24 hours, India saw the sharpest ever increase in the number of COVID-19 cases”, said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday.

Maharashtra has over one-fifth of these cases at 1,364, and 95 deaths, followed by Tamil Nadu which has 834 cases and 8 deaths. The national capital has recorded 720 cases and 12 deaths as of now.