New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation at 8 pm today. This comes a day after he held a six-hour-long marathon meeting with the chief ministers on various aspects of the situation arising out of the pandemic and the nationwide lockdown

The address is speculated to be regarding the lockdown and a possible extension with some more relaxations in place in wake of the pandemic. PM Modi may also speak on the crisis of lakhs of migrants which are moving across the country, walking, cycling and hitching rides on trucks in desperation to reach back home. 

This will be the prime minister's fifth address to the nation, including a video message, following the outbreak of COVID-19. The last time the prime minister had addressed the nation was on April 14 when he had announced extension of the lockdown till May 3. The lockdown was further extended till May 17 but the government had announced several relaxations in areas which were not severely hit by the virus. 

On Monday, PM Modi had indicated that the lockdown may not end completely but curbs will be further eased. he had also asked the states to come up with a roadmap by May 15 on how to deal with various aspects of the gradual easing of the lockdown.

PM Modi said he was of the firm view that the measures needed in the first three phases of lockdown were not needed "in the fourth". 

According to an official release, Modi asserted that social distancing was the biggest weapon to fight coronavirus till "we do not find a vaccine or a solution", and said, "we must understand that the world has fundamentally changed post COVID-19. Now the world will be pre-Corona, post-Corona just like the case of the world wars. And this would entail significant changes in how we function...We must all plan for the new reality."     

The new way of life would be on the principle of "Jan Se lekar Jag Tak", from an individual to the whole of humanity, he added.       

According to reports, the lockdown may be extended post May 17, but more restrictions may be eased in areas which are not severely affected or have not reported many cases in the last 3-4 weeks. Restrictions like a night curfew and curbs on public transport may continue in areas designated as Red Zones.

A number of states have reportedly also batted for the lockdown to be extended but limited to areas worst hit by the crisis. They have also requested for Red Zones to be changed from entire districts to just containment zones.

The 54-day nationwide lockdown since March 25 to contain the spread of coronavirus is scheduled to end on May 17. 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.  

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta