Lockdown extended till May 31, guidelines awaited
The ongoing countrywide lockdown has been extended till May 31, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) announced on Sunday evening, more than six hours after finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the fifth and last tranche of a Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package to revive a stagnating economy.
In an order, the NDMA said lockdown measures need to be implemented for a further period of 14 days in the country to contain the spread of Covid-19, indicating that the Union home ministry would soon issue modified guidelines that are to be observed during the shutdown.
The death toll due to Covid-19 rose to 2,872 and the number of total positive cases climbed to 90,927 Sunday morning, according to the Union health ministry.
The NDMA, in exercise of powers under Section 6 (2) (i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, hereby directs the ministries and departments of the Government of India, state governments and state authorities to continue the lockdown measures up to May 31, NDMA member secretary G V V Sarma said.
The authority further directs the National Executive Committee, headed by the Union home secretary, to issue modifications in the guidelines as necessary, keeping in view the need to open up economic activities while containing the spread of Covid-19, the order said.
The lockdown was first announced by prime minister Narendra Modi on March 24 for 21 days with effect from March 25. It was then extended till May 3 and again till May 17.