India extends lockdown to May 3 to contain coronavirus

NEW DELHI – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced that the country’s three-week lockdown will be extended until May 3 to combat the spread of the coronavirus. India has confirmed more than 10,000 cases of COVID-19, with 339 deaths.

In the next week, stricter measures will be taken to prevent the spread of the epidemic across the nation of 1.3 billion, with people monitored closely to determine their compliance with the rules, Modi said.

“Those parts [of the country] which succeed in containing the spread and not increasing the number of hot spots, or clusters with positive cases, will be given some relaxation” after April 20, Modi said in a televised address, adding that although the lockdown is economically costly, the cost cannot be compared with the lives of Indians.

“All permission for any relaxation will be taken back if rules relating to the lockdown, including stepping out, are broken in any manner,” the prime minister warned. “We have to ensure that coronavirus is not spread around the country, at any cost.”

Modi announced an initial three-week lockdown, starting March 25. Since then people have remained indoors, with only essential services such as hospitals, police and fire departments, and grocery stores open. All public transport remains suspended.

Modi’s latest announcement comes as India’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases reached10,363 on Tuesday, an increase of 1,211 since Monday morning and the biggest 24-hour spike so far. That number includes 339 deaths and 1,035 recoveries, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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