Goa Wants Lockdown Extended, Seeks Relaxations For Restaurants, Gyms

Lockdown Extension: Pramod Sawant, who spoke to Amit Shah over the phone on Thursday, said during the conversation he suggested lockdown extension for another 15 days, but sought relaxations for Goa during the period.

Goa Wants Lockdown Extended, Seeks Relaxations For Restaurants, Gyms

Pramod Sawant said Goa will be the most preferred holiday destination post-COVID-19 (File)

Panaji:

The nationwide lockdown must be extended by 15 more days after May 31 as coronavirus cases are rising, Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Friday, a day after his discussions with Home Minister Amit Shah. But he called for reopening malls, gyms and restaurants with half the staff and virus precautions like social distancing.

"The lockdown must be extended for 15 more days, it is needed, as the graph of COVID-19 is rising," said Mr Sawant.

"I spoke to Home Minister Amit Shah on phone and I feel lockdown may be extended for 15 more days. However, we demand that there should be some relaxations - restaurants should be allowed with social distancing at 50 per cent capacity. Many people also want gyms to resume," he said.

The Chief Minister said he was waiting for Home Ministry guidelines, expected on Saturday.

Goa has 69 coronavirus cases.

Across India, the number of COVID-19 cases has crossed 1.6 and the country is now ninth among the world's worst hit nations.

Mr Sawant, who spoke to Amit Shah on the phone on Thursday, said he suggested a lockdown extension but requested relaxations for Goa during the period.

Compared to rest of the tourist places in the country, Goa would be most-preferred for domestic and international travelers, said the Chief Minister.

Amit Shah reached out to all Chief Ministers yesterday to seek their feedback on the road ahead after lockdown 4, due to end on Sunday.

This morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held discussions with Amit Shah and other top officials and ministers on a virus strategy based on feedback from states and an assessment of India's COVID-19 graph over the past two months, since the country went into lockdown on March 25.

(Inputs from PTI)