- Restarting flights and trains is one of the main agendas of the meeting
- The home ministry has indicated there will be considerable relaxations
- The final decision on relaxing lockdown measures will be taken by PM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today met top ministers, including Home Minister Amit Shah, to discuss the road ahead after May 3, when the nationwide coronavirus lockdown is due to end.
Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba also attended the meeting.
Restarting flights and trains was one of the main agendas of the meeting.
The home ministry has indicated that there will be considerable relaxations for many districts from Monday, while restrictions will continue in the "red zone", or areas worst affected by COVID-19.
On Wednesday, the government allowed lakhs of migrant workers and students stranded at various places for over a month to return home. Today, a special train for migrants ran from Telangana to Jharkhand.
The number of coronavirus hotspots, or "red zones", across India has fallen by around 23 per cent in 15 days, the government said today, from 170 on April 15 to 130 on April 30. Seven major cities in the country, including national capital Delhi, are "red zones"; Mumbai and Delhi alone account for more than 10,000 cases between them.
The "green zones", or districts reporting no new COVID-19 case, have decreased from 356 to 319 in the same period, indicating the virus is spreading to previously unaffected areas of the country.
"Orange zones" have increased - from 207 to 284, per a letter from the Union Health Ministry to the chief secretaries of all states and union territories, following a video conference yesterday.
In a major change of criterion the government will now consider an infection-free period of 21 days to designate a district as "green", or virus-free. Previously this number was 28 days.
The final decision on relaxing lockdown measures will be taken by PM Modi.
A panel of ministers led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had recommended that the lockdown, imposed on March 25, to be extended for the second time, till May 15.
States like Punjab, West Bengal and Telangana want an extended lockdown to control the spread of the highly infectious virus.
During his last interaction with chief ministers on Monday, PM Modi had said the economy would need to be given importance too while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.