New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In what could be a hint that the government might extend the nationwide lockdown after April 14, Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Monday said that the Centre will take a decision to end the restrictions at the “right time”, which will be in the interests of the nation and its people.

Addressing the media after a meeting of the Cabinet and the Council of Ministers, Javadekar said that the government is monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak in the country and will take a right decision at the right time.   

"We have formed Empowered Groups to monitor the situation emerging due to the COVID-19. We are monitoring the world situation every minute. Therefore, the decision on ending the nationwide lockdown will be taken ultimately in the interests of the nation and its people. That decision will be declared at the right time," Javadekar said, as quoted by news agency ANI.

"COVID-19 related issues and experiences were shared in the meeting of the Cabinet and the Council of Ministers," he added.

Meanwhile, a top Uttar Pradesh official on Monday said that it is impossible to say if the lockdown in the state will be lifted after April 14 as the novel coronavirus is on a surge and lifting the restrictions would not be right.

"Since the number of coronavirus cases has gone up markedly in the past couple of days, it would not be right to say that the lockdown will be lifted after April 14. If even one case remains, lifting it would not be right as the entire work done so far to control the virus would go in vain," said UP Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi, as quoted by news agency PTI.

The government on March 24 had imposed a 21-day lockdown in the control the coronavirus outbreak in the country, saying that ‘social distancing’ was the only way to break the chain of the novel coronavirus.

Urging the people not to panic, the government said that all essential services will be available during the lockdown.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier in the day, thanked the people for showing 'unprecedented' maturity during the 21-day lockdown imposed to control the dreadful coronavirus in India.

He also stressed that the battle against the pandemic is going to be long and India can't afford to get tired or take a rest in this war.

"I state it with full responsibility that this is a long war against coronavirus pandemic. But we do not have to get tired or take a rest in this war. We have to emerge victorious. Today, the country has only one goal and one resolve - to win this war," PM Modi said.

According to data available at the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the novel coronavirus has affected over 4,000 people and claimed the lives of more than 100 in India so far.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma