DHAKA: In South Asia’s latest moves to curb the coronavirus pandemic, Bangladesh has extended its nationwide lockdown by 11 days while some of India’s state ministers said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to do the same.
In Bangladesh, where the army has been deployed across the country to enforce social distancing measures, the government late on Friday extended the nationwide lockdown to April 25 as the number of confirmed cases rose to 424, with 27 deaths.
India’s 21-day lockdown ends on Tuesday and several states have urged the prime minister to extend it further, even as concerns have grown that the shutdown has put millions of poor people out of work.
Prime Minister Modi is set to extend the nationwide lockdown for two weeks, state ministers said after talks on Saturday on the growing fallout in the country.
India’s two states — Odisha and Punjab — have already extended the lockdown by around two weeks, but analysts say a nationwide lockdown is needed to stop people moving between states and potentially taking the virus with them. India has so far reported about 7,500 cases and 240 deaths. But the government says there is no community transmission.
Delhi’s chief minister says Modi is likely to follow suit
Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Twitter after the talks that Modi had taken the “correct decision” to extend the lockdown.
“Today, India’s position is better than many developed countries because we started (the) lockdown early. If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost.”
Other ministers who took part in the video conference talks on Saturday told media the lockdown would go on for another two weeks. The government made no immediate announcement and officials said Modi might not make a statement until Sunday (today).
According to reports, the Hindu-nationalist government is worried about the impact of the restrictions and ban on international flights on the economy, which was slowing even before the pandemic crisis blew up.
Millions of people have lost jobs in the past three weeks and the lockdown sparked a mass migration as workers headed for their home villages.
Every state has now declared a coronavirus case, but Maharashtra, which includes the financial capital Mumbai, has been among the worst hit. The western state has more than 1,600 cases and more than 110 deaths in India’s total.
Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2020