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.
Also read: 7 key takeaways from PM Modi’s address
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
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.Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage on the novel coronavirus pandemic