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INDIA is likely to continue lockdown in hotspots as COVID-19 cases are increasing fast.

The novel coronavirus has claimed 872 lives and there are 20,835 active COVID-19 cases in the country, according to the health ministry data released on Monday (27) Morning.

The total number of cases in India is now 27,892. Maharashtra has so far reported the highest number of cases in India.

While speaking to the state chief ministers on Monday through video conference, prime minister Narendra Modi said that the “efforts of states should be directed towards converting the red zones into orange and thereafter to green zones.”

The high level meeting discussed lives and livelihood issues and extension of the lockdown in red zones among other things.

The chief ministers of Bihar, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Puducherry, Haryana and Gujarat spoke in the meeting, with most state governments in favour of continuation of strict lockdown measures in the red zones.

Starting 20 April, India has allowed key parts of the economy, including agriculture, logistics, infrastructure, e-commerce and factories (located outside the municipal corporations and municipalities’ limit), to return to work in areas where no infections have been reported.

The red zones account for two-third of the cases now. With some 10 million needy people in different temporary camps post the lockdown due to lack of work, and factories almost non-functional, the states and the centre are looking at ways to revive the economy.

“We have to give importance to the economy as well as continue the fight against COVID-19,” Modi said in his fourth such interaction with the chief ministers over the pandemic.

The deadly pandemic hit at a time when India’s economy was already slowing due to persistent financial sector weaknesses, and post lockdown economic activity has come to a halt.

“We have to be brave and bring in reforms that touch the lives of common citizens,” Modi said.

Last week, chief ministers of two Congress ruled states — Captain Amarinder Singh of Punjab and Bhupesh Baghel of Chhattisgarh — wrote to Prime Minister Modi seeking special financial assistance and revenue grant for FY 2020-21. States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as Delhi have similarly demanded more financial help from the union government.