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PM Modi to Meet Chief Ministers Today to Firm Up Covid-19 Lockdown Exit Plan With Eye on Economy

This will be PM Modi's fifth meeting with chief ministers on the lockdown strategy.

This will be PM Modi's fifth meeting with chief ministers on the lockdown strategy.

Although Covid-19 cases are doubling at a faster pace at present, the general sentiment in the government seems to be towards a further relaxation.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold a meeting with chief ministers on Monday to discuss the next stage in the exit from the nationwide lockdown enforced to contain novel coronavirus outbreak and various issues comprising the economy, officials said on Sunday.

The Prime Minister's Office took to Twitter to share the information that he would hold the meeting via video-conference at 3 pm. This will be his fifth meeting with CMs to discuss post-lockdown strategy.

Although Covid-19 cases are doubling at a faster pace at present, the general sentiment in the government seems to be towards a further relaxation so the country can move towards a gradual un-lockdown.

Sources said the focus of the meeting will be on further increasing the economic activities and on tackling the pandemic in containment zones as the current lockdown is to end on May 17.

According to health ministry data, positive cases have increased from 39,980 on May 3 to 62,939 on Sunday and the number of deaths have increased week from 1,301 to 2,109.

The growth in cases has been linear and not exponential because of the lockdown, but the worry for the government remains that the restrictions have not managed to flatten the curve, unlike in other countries where lockdowns were imposed.

According to sources familiar with the matter, there will definitely be more concessions in terms of what's allowed after May 17, but that there will likely be no changes for Covid-19 hotspots and containment zones.

The announcement of the meeting comes after Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting with Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries of all states and Union Territories (UTs) to review their status of Covid-19 management.

At the meeting, the chief secretaries informed Gauba about the situation in their states and also said that while protection is required from the virus, economic activities also needed to be stepped up in a calibrated manner.

The lockdown, enforced on March 25, was originally supposed to end on April 14. It was extended to May 3, and then again to May 17, although many more relaxations have been given with the extensions.