Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday justified the extension of the nationwide lockdown to fight the COVID-19 pandemic till May 3, and allayed panic by assuring that there is enough stock of food and medicine in the country. Shah's assurance came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday morning announced the second phase of the lockdown till May 3 to break the chain of transmission of the novel coronavirus.
Every city and district will be assessed as part of the lockdown 2.0 measures from April 20 onwards to get the real picture of the COVID-19 affected areas.
"The decision to extend the lockdown till May 3 has been taken to protect the lives of the people," Shah said.
Assuring the citizens of the country at this time of crisis, Shah said: "As the Home Minister of the country, I reassure the public that there are sufficient reserves of food, medicines and other daily essentials in the country. Hence there is no need for any citizen to panic."
"At the same time, I request the well-off people to come forward and help the poor living in their nearby areas," he added.
Shah expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister for his decision to extend the lockdown and said that it has set an example for the whole world in fighting the dreaded virus.
Praising the decisions taken by the government to stop the spread of Covid-19, Shah said this was "evident in all the timely decisions taken by the government and the participation of the people in them".
Describing the coordination between the Centre and the states as very crucial in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and to meet the need of the citizens, the Home Minister said that the way all the state governments are working together with the Central government is truly laudable.
"This coordination needs to be intensified so that all the citizens follow the lockdown properly and no one faces any problem in accessing essential commodities," he added.
Saluting the frontline healthcare professionals and security personnel leading the fight against COVID-19, Shah said that the contributions of doctors, health workers, sanitation workers, police and all the security personnel are indeed touching.
"Their courage and understanding in these tough times inspire every Indian citizen. Everyone should follow the guidelines and cooperate with them," Shah said.
The first 21-day nationwide lockdown from March 24 midnight is ending on Tuesday midnight.