India extends coronavirus lockdown till May 3

India extends coronavirus lockdown till May 3

People look out from their balconies at Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia who was present during a sanitation drive in Mayur Vihar Phase II, on day twenty of the 21-day nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Coronavirus on April 13, 2020 in New Delhi, India.

Ajay Aggarwal | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

India’s lockdown has been extended until May 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the nation.

The country’s initial 21-day lockdown period ends Tuesday, but some states had urged Modi to extend it further. 

A recent summary of one of Modi’s meetings with all the state chief ministers posted by his office said, “The Chief Ministers suggested that Lockdown should be extended by two weeks.” 

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted about the decision on Saturday before any formal announcements were made from Modi’s government. 

Coronavirus cases have sharply increased in India. As of 8 a.m. local time, the health ministry reported 10,363 cases of infections and 339 deaths, while it said 1,035 have been cured and discharged. 

The initial lockdown largely affected low-income households and daily wage earners, putting many of them out of work. To combat the sudden economic shock, India had announced a $22.5 billion fiscal stimulus package designed to help poor households through food security and direct cash transfers. 

Experts say India’s economy, which was already growing at the slowest pace in six years before the coronavirus outbreak, is set to take a major hit from the lockdown. 

Priyanka Kishore, head of India and South East Asia economics at Oxford Economics, slashed her full-year growth projection for the 2020 calendar year. She said last week she now expects a 1% contraction versus an expansion of 4.4% predicted a month ago. 

“This not only reflects the substantial hit to the economy from the containment measures that are likely to extend until the end of the second quarter but also India’s inherent economic fragilities and limited policy arsenal, that will likely hinder a quick and decisive rebound in growth,” she said in a note. 

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

Published at Tue, 14 Apr 2020 04:48:14 +0000