The Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, has decided to extend a nationwide lockdown to tackle the spread of the coronavirus, the Delhi state’s chief minister said on Saturday, without saying how long the extension would be.
Modi earlier in the day held a video conference call with several state ministers. Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, said Modi had “taken a correct decision to extend the lockdown”, without sharing further details.
“If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost. To consolidate, it is imp (important) to extend it,” Kejriwal said on Twitter.
India’s 21-day lockdown ends on Tuesday but several states had urged Modi to extend it further, even as concerns have risen that the shutdown has put millions of poor people out of work and forced an exodus of migrant workers from cities to villages.
India has confirmed 7,600 infections and 249 deaths, according to a tally by US-based Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the disease globally. The true figures, however, are thought to be far higher.
On 24 March, India shut its $2.9 trillion (£2.3tn) economy, closing its businesses and issuing strict stay-at-home orders to more than a billion people. Air, road and rail transport systems were suspended.