"Lockdown Will Not Be Extended": Delhi Minister Amid Spike In Virus Cases

Delhi has over 34,000 virus cases and 1,085 deaths. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government had estimated that by July 31, the capital would have 5.5 lakh coronavirus cases.

"No, the lockdown will not be extended," Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told news agency ANI.

New Delhi:

The coronavirus lockdown will not be intensified in Delhi and Tamil Nadu, both governments said on Friday, rubbishing speculation after a spurt in virus cases over the past few days.

"No, the lockdown will not be extended," Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told news agency ANI on the possibility of the capital returning to a state of total lockdown to check the spiraling COVID-19 cases.

The clarification came in response to a huge buzz on social media and sections of the media that these states would go back into lockdown from June 15 till July 31.

Some Delhi markets could, however, shut again. A decision will be taken shortly, say officials.

Shops, malls, shopping complexes and restaurants were opened with restrictions in the capital earlier this month as part of the nationwide "Unlock 1" or phased reopening after the virus lockdown since March-end.

"Relock Delhi" was among the top trends on Twitter last evening after the city reported the biggest single-day spike in the number of cases. The Delhi government said 1,877 new cases were reported in 24 hours.

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Delhi now has close to 35,000 virus cases and 1,085 deaths. The city is third worst-hit in the country after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says his government estimates that by July 31, the capital will have 5.5 lakh coronavirus cases.

On Thursday, many on social media urged Mr Kejriwal to enforce a strict lockdown again to help the city deal with the virus crisis.

On the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's claim of 2,098 COVID-19 deaths in Delhi - a huge jump from the official figure -- Satyendar Jain said, "Why don't they send those details to us? Names, age and reports... all details are needed. Ask them for a list of these numbers along with the (COVID-19) positive reports of those people."

In Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister E Palaniswami clarified that there were no plans to intensify the lockdown. "It is wrong news," he said.

Tamil Nadu has 38,716 virus cases and 349 deaths, the second highest after Maharashtra, which is set to cross 1,00,000.