NEW DELHI: India’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown, the biggest in the world, will be extended until at least May 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday.
The current three-week-old lockdown of the nation of 1.3 billion people had been scheduled to end at midnight Tuesday.
“From the economic angle, we have paid a big price,” Modi said in a nationwide address. “But the lives of the people of India are far more valuable.”
South Asian nations have so far been relatively unscathed by the epidemic, with around 10,000 cases and 339 deaths in India, according to official figures.
But with some of the most crowded cities on the planet, there are fears that numbers could skyrocket and overwhelm shaky healthcare systems.
Some experts have also said that India has not conducted enough tests and that the true number of infections is much higher.
Several states including Maharashtra — home to Mumbai and which has the highest number of cases — Tamil Nadu and Odisha have already announced lockdown extensions.