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  • Rumours, Reports That 21-Day Lockdown Will Be Extended Baseless: Centre

    New Delhi: "Rumours and media reports" that the 21-day lockdown to check the spread of coronavirus will be extended are "baseless", the government asserted on Monday. A report had claimed that the government was debating extending the lockdown, alarmed over the infection risk posed by the mass exodus of migrants trying to reach home, desperate for food and shelter.

    "There are rumours and 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," tweeted the Press Information Bureau, the government's media body, with the hashtag #PIBFactCheck. State-run broadcaster Prasar Bharti also put out a denial, called it "fake news".

    "I'm surprised to see such reports, there is no such plan of extending the lockdown," Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, the government's top bureaucrat, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

    Top government sources say in the coming week they will be able to make a fair assessment of the situation and identify and isolate areas if any, to ensure there is a coordinated approach to deal with the highly infectious disease.

    The national lockdown that started last Tuesday will end on April 14.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered the three-week "total lockdown" to break the chain of transmission of coronavirus or COVID-19, which spreads rapidly through person to person contact. "Forget about stepping out of your homes," he had said.

    In the past week, keeping up the supply of essential goods and food, and controlling the massive flow of migrants heading home have been the biggest challenges in the fight against the disease. Large crowds at shops and borders have defeated the purpose of "social distancing" necessary to check the spread of coronavirus. The governments of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have been facing the worst of the migrant traffic.

    In India, there are close to 1,100 coronavirus cases now, including 29 deaths. The disease has caused over 34,000 deaths across the world, with many countries under complete lockdown.

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