India extends lockdown to May

India's government has decided to extend its ongoing nationwide lockdown to 3 May in a bid to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, The Economic Times reported on 14 April.

The national lockdown that began on 24 March was originally due to expire at midnight on 14 April. In a televised address to the nation on 14 April, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the extension is needed to save lives.

The government will carry out an assessment in the next week to determine certain relaxations for blocks, districts, and states where the outbreak is well-controlled.

All domestic and international flights and passenger train services will remain suspended until 3 May, the newspaper said.

India’s economy is expected to take a big hit in 2020, with the gross domestic product possibly falling to zero for the calendar year. With the extension of the lockdown, the country is estimating USD 234.4 billion (EUR 214.6 billion) in losses, nearly double the estimate of USD 120 billion (EUR 110 billion) from the original 21-day lockdown, British brokerage firm Barclays said in a statement referenced by The Economic Times.

"As India heads into a longer complete shutdown until [3 May] to combat the rising number of COVID-19 cases, the economic impact looks set to be worse than we had expected earlier," Barclays said.

Sectors that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic include fishing and aquaculture. On 10 April, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs issued an addendum to its consolidated guidelines dated 24 March, announcing the lifting of restrictions for the fishing and aquaculture industry.

But fishermens' and seafood workers unions have said that's not enough, and have called on the central government to do more to support the struggling sector. Trade Union Centre of India’s National General Secretary Charles George said India’s fisheries sector is estimated to incur a loss of around USD 13.2 billion (EUR 12 billion).

“No export is taking place. Processing units are also shut,” George said. His organization has proposed that the government provide about USD 66 (EUR 60) for every fish worker to help them get through the crisis, The Hindu BusinessLine reported on 13 April.

Photo courtesy of leshiy985/Shutterstock


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