The Centre on Monday termed as “baseless” the reports of extension of the 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus that has claimed 27 lives in the country and infected over 1,000 people.
The Press Information Bureau, government’s media body, tweeted: “There are rumours & media reports, claiming that the Government will extend the #Lockdown21 when it expires. The Cabinet Secretary has denied these reports, and stated that they are baseless.”
Earlier, Rajiv Gauba, Cabinet Secretary, had also denied such reports, saying he was “surprised” to see them. “There is no such plan of extending the lockdown,” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Last Tuesday, PM Modi ordered the three-week “total lockdown” to break the chain of transmission of the virus. He reiterated his appeal to people to stay indoors in his Mann ki Baat address on Sunday when he apologised to people for the hardships caused due to the lockdown but admitted there was no other option.
Modi appealed to people not to violate the nationwide lockdown and stressed upon “increasing social distancing but reducing emotional distancing”.
The lockdown prompted thousands of migrant workers to flock to bus terminals and state borders to reach their native villages in the absence of employment opportunities in the cities. Most of them set for the arduous journey on foot, with a Delhi restaurant worker on his way home in MP dying after walking over 200km.
The government’s clarification also comes ahead of the Supreme Court hearing a petition filed today on the exodus of migrant workers.