NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Wednesday held an all-party meeting with leaders of different political parties through video conferencing to discuss the COVID-19 situation.
Modi described the situation in the country similar to social emergency and hinted at extending the ongoing lockdown in the country.
"Prime Minister underlined that the situation in the country is akin to a social emergency. The country has been forced to take tough decisions and must continue to remain vigilant," a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said. "He said that several state governments, district administrations and experts have asked for extension of the phase of lockdown."
Wednesday marks the 15th straight day of the ongoing 21-day lockdown across the country announced by the government to contain the spread of the pandemic. The three-week lockdown is expected to end on April 14.
Authorities have imposed strict curfew-like restrictions to prevent the movement of people across the country. All road, rail and air services have been suspended in the lockdown, except essential services.
Modi told the leaders that the priority of his government was to save life, saying the country was facing serious economic challenges as a result of COVID-19, which the government was committed to overcome.
The ongoing crisis has forced thousands of migrant workers to move back to their villages, besides increasing the unemployment rate in the country.
India's federal health ministry Wednesday morning said the death toll due to COVID-19 in India rose to 149 and the total number of confirmed cases in the country reached 5,194.