New Delhi: The situation in the country is akin to a "social emergency" and it has necessitated tough decisions, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told political leaders on the COVID-19 outbreak as he asserted that the priority of his government is to "save each and every life".
Interacting with floor leaders of opposition and other parties in Parliament via video conferencing on Wednesday, Modi said, "We must continue to remain vigilant."
"The situation in the country is akin to a social emergency...it has necessitated tough decisions and we must continue to remain vigilant," he told the leaders, according to an official statement.
States, district administrations and experts have suggested extension of the ongoing lockdown beyond April 14 to contain the spread of the virus, said Modi.
BJD's Pinaki Misra said Modi told the leaders that the lockdown will not be lifted in one go on April 14.
"Prime Minister Modi made it clear that lockdown is not being lifted and also that the life pre-corona and post-corona will not be same," said Misra.
Another leader, who participated in the meeting but did not wish to be named, said Modi told them he will also consult chief ministers -- a decision is expected to be reached after a meeting with them on April 11.
Those who participated in the meet included Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, and Nationalist Congress Party head Sharad Pawar.
The leaders provided feedback, suggested policy measures, discussed the 21-day lockdown and the way forward, according to the official statement.
The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 149 and the number of cases climbed to 5,194 in the country on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
(With inputs from PTI)