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Centre denies reports on extending 21-day coronavirus lockdown

New Delhi: Amid reports that the 21-day lockdown could be extended further, the Union government on Monday categorically stated that there was no such plan. The 21-day lockdown had come into effect on March 24 (Tuesday) midnight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an announcement to the effect in a nationally televised address earlier that evening.

The Union government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB), which comes under the purview of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, wrote on Twitter that Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has refuted reports which had claimed that the Central government was planning to extend the lockdown.

“There are rumours & 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,” the PIB tweeted.

Gauba earlier dismissed reports that complete lockdown could get extended. “I am surprised to see such reports, there is no such plan of extending the lockdown,” he was quoted as saying.

The Modi government had announced the 21-day lockdown starting March 25 to control the spread of the novel coronavirus disease which has killed over 30,000 people and infected more than 7,00,000 worldwide ever since the first case was reported to the World Health Organisation by China on December 31 last year.

Ever since the lockdown was announced, there has been a mass exodus of migrant workers from big cities to their villages as most of the migrant workers and labourers were rendered jobless.

The Union government has, however, appealed to the workers and issued orders to the state governments to help the migrants during the lockdown period.

In his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address, PM Modi yesterday apologised apologised to the poor for the difficulties caused to them by the lockdown which has brought the country to a standstill, with trains halted and flights grounded. Interstate bus and metro services across the country have also been stopped till April 14 when the lockdown will end.

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