New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday held his fifth meeting with the chief ministers of the state and discussed about the coronavirus pandemic in the country, with focus on easing lockdown restrictions and restarting the ecnomoy.

In his meeting, PM Modi reportedly told the chief ministers that some decisions had to be changed because it was "human nature" to want to go home, indicating that lockdown could be eased further post May 17.  

"Slowly but surely, economic activities have begun to pick up in several parts of the country. In coming days, this process will further gather steam. We must realize that fight against COVID-19 has to be more focused now," PM Modi said, as quoted by news agency ANI.

The Prime Minister also said that the government has identified the geographical spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, including the worst affected areas. Officials have understood operating procedures in a time such as this, right up to the district level, PM Modi noted.

Speaking about India's response to the coronavirus pandemic, PM Modi said that the Centre appreciates the efforts made by the state and urged everyone to fight outbreak together.

"There is global recognition for India’s success in handling the COVID-19 pandemic and the government of India appreciates the efforts made by all state governments in this regard. Let us stay the course as we move forward together," ANI quoted PM Modi as saying.

Stressing that rural India must remain free from the crisis, PM Modi said that the states must ensure that 'social distancing' norms are followed by observing 'Do Gaj Doori' as it is the only to control the coronavirus outbreak in the country.    

PM Modi on Monday held his fifth meeting with the chief ministers. The interaction was attended by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Health Minister Harsh Vardhan among others.

Chief ministers -- Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy (Andhra Pradesh), Amarinder Singh (Punjab), Nitish Kumar (Bihar), Yogi Adityanath (Uttar Pradesh) and Pema Khandu (Arunachal Pradesh) -- were also among those who attended the virtual conference.

The prime minister interacted with the chief ministers last on April 27. Days after the meeting, the central government had extended the lockdown by two more weeks till May 17 to arrest the spread of the virus, but gave several relaxations in economic activities and movement of people.

The nationwide lockdown has been in force since March 25 to contain the spread of the virus, which has killed more than 2200 people, and afflicted more than 67,000 in the country.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma