Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asked citizens to prepare for a world that's different from the one they knew before the lockdown necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic kicked in. In a statement after a six-hour-long meeting with chief ministers to decide on the future of the lockdown, scheduled to end on May 17, PM Modi reaffirmed the importance of "do gaz ki doori" or social distancing as the only safety net till the world get a vaccine for the highly infectious COVID-19.
"We must understand that the world has fundamentally changed post COVID-19. Now the world will be Pre-Corona, Post-Corona just like the case of the World Wars. And this would entail significant changes in how we function," PM Modi said, according to the statement.
"Even as we look at the gradual withdrawal of the lockdown, we should constantly remember that till we do not find a vaccine or a solution, the biggest weapon with us to the fight the virus is social distancing," he said.
"I request you all to share with me by May 15 a broad strategy on how you each one of you would want to deal with the lockdown regime in your particular states. I want states to make a blue print on how to deal with various nuances during and after the gradual easing of the lockdown," PM Modi said.
This was the fifth such meeting with the chief ministers since March 20.
"We now have reasonably clear indication as to the geographical spread of the pandemic in India, including the worst affected areas. Moreover, over the past few weeks, officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the district level," PM Modi said in his opening address to the chief ministers via video-conference.
The pan-India lockdown is likely to be extended for a third time beyond May 17 but more restrictions may be eased in areas that are not severely affected, government sources told NDTV on Monday.
Restrictions like a 7 pm-to-7 am curfew and curbs on public transport may continue in areas designated as Red Zones, sources said.