Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao
Hyderabad: Telangana has said it will continue the lockdown in the state to contain the coronavirus outbreak till May 29 -- ten days after it is scheduled to end in the rest of the country. "People want lockdown extended. I have informed the Prime Minister about our decision," said Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao after a 7- hour cabinet meeting this evening.
The country's newest state has six districts in the red zone, 18 in orange and nine in the green zone. Three districts have higher rates of infection. The condition of GHMC, Ranga Reddy and Medchal districts is "worrisome" he said.
"The Centre says shops can open even in the red zone. But we are not opening any shops in Hyderabad, Medchal, Suryapet, Vikarabad," Mr Rao said.
Telangana, which so far has 1,096 cases of coronavirus -- 439 under treatment and 628 discharged -- had extended its lockdown till May 7 even before the Centre gave a second extension to the countrywide lockdown.
Now, following an internal report that recommended the extension of the lockdown in the state, especially in the three districts around Hyderabad -- Ranga Reddy, Medchal and Vikarabad --the government made its decision.
The recent report submitted by the Medical and health department said of the total 1,085 positive cases, 717 (66.08 per cent) belong to these four districts.
"Among those dead, 82.21 per cent belongs to these four districts. For the past 10 days, the highest number of cases reported from these districts only. Hence, please do not given any relaxations in these four districts. Continue lockdown as it is, if need be, more strictly," the report read.
The state has already relaxed the lockdown to an extent, opening up agriculture and parts of the industrial sector.
"No country in the world can feed us... We cannot afford to lose self-sufficiency in food security," the Chief Minister said, declaring that fertilizer, seed shops and establishments selling agricultural implements will remain open. Construction activity and cement manufacturing and selling units will be open as well.
The question of further relaxations will be reviewed on May 15, the Chief Minister said.