Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar on Saturday that the worst phase of coronavirus epidemic in India appears to be over, but people should continue to follow all precautions and guidelines.
"I think the worst is over. But till the time the disease is not completely contained, we should continue to follow all precautions and guidelines," he told ANI.
Javadekar said India took various timely initiatives, including a countrywide lockdown, and its management of COVID-19 has been better than other countries.
"That is why it (lockdown) has been extended for two weeks. The various zones are well-defined. Following the social distancing norm of 'do gaz ki doori' will be a new normal till the time a vaccine is developed for COVID-19," he said.
The minister said the lockdown has brought us success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Now that the restrictions in third phase, practically half of the country will be fully operational from May 4," said Javadekar.
On March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.
It was later extended till May 3.
On Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order under the Disaster Management Act 2005 to further extend the lockdown by two weeks till May 17.
With 2,293 new cases in the last 24 hours, the highest number of cases in a single day, India's COVID-19 tally reached 37,336 on Saturday, including 1,218 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
As many as 71 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.Out of the total number, 9,951 people have been cured, discharged or migrated.