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India plans ‘phased exit’ from coronavirus lockdown – PM Modi

India plans ‘phased exit’ from coronavirus lockdown – PM Modi

India will pull out of a three-week lockdown in phases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday. The statement comes as officials battle to contain the country’s biggest cluster of coronavirus infections in the capital, New Delhi. India has had 1,965 confirmed infections, of whom 50 have died.

The shutdown, which has brought Asia’s third-largest economy to a halt, is due to end on April 14. Modi had ordered India’s 1.3 billion people indoors to avert a massive outbreak of infections. However, the world’s biggest shutdown has left millions without jobs and forced migrant workers to flee to their villages for food and shelter, Reuters said.

Modi told state chief ministers that the shutdown had helped limit infections but that there could be a second wave.

The PM said that it is important “to formulate a common exit strategy to ensure staggered re-emergence of the population once lockdown ends,” the government quoted him as saying in a video conference.