While many states had extended the lockdown till April 30, the Centre may have opted for May 3 to possibly factor in public holiday on May 1 and the weekend.
In a bid to curb the spread of novel coronavirus infections in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi - on April 14 - announced an extension to the nationwide lockdown till May 3.
The prime minister also said that the lockdown would be imposed even more strictly during the coming week and that some restrictions in areas, where the situation has improved, could be eased after April 20.
India has so far reported 10,363 cases of COVID-19, including 339 deaths and 1,036 recoveries. Maharashtra, Delhi and Tamil Nadu have reported the most number of infections so far.
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Ahead of the announcement, news reports had suggested that the Centre was considering extending the lockdown by two weeks, or till the end of the month.
Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana, among others, already extended the lockdown till April 30. Punjab declared the extension of the lockdown till May 1. So, why did the Centre opt for May 3 instead of April 30 or May 1?
Quoting government sources, news agency ANI has reported that May 3 was chosen because May 1 is already a public holiday on account of May Day/Labour Day. In Maharashtra, it is also observed as ‘Maharashtra Day’. May 2 and May 3 happen to be Saturday and Sunday.
Hence, there may have been concerns that relaxation of the lockdown on April 30 would have resulted in people immediately using the weekend to travel in large numbers across states and the country. Perhaps, the government opted for May 3 to curb this possible movement of people.
The first leg of the nationwide lockdown, scheduled to end today, was announced by PM Modi in a similar address to the nation on March 24.