The current three-week-old lockdown of the nation of 1.3 billion people had been scheduled to end at midnight Tuesday.

A doctor in a protective chamber takes a swab from a man to test for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at a newly installed Walk-In Sample Kiosk (WISK) in a government-run hospital in Chennai, India, April 13, 2020.
A doctor in a protective chamber takes a swab from a man to test for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) at a newly installed Walk-In Sample Kiosk (WISK) in a government-run hospital in Chennai, India, April 13, 2020. (Reuters)

India's nationwide lockdown, the biggest imposed in the world over the coronavirus pandemic, will be extended until at least May 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday.

The current three-week-old lockdown of the nation of 1.3 billion people had been scheduled to end at midnight Tuesday.

"From the economic angle, we have paid a big price," Modi said in a nationwide address. "But the lives of the people of India are far more valuable."

Modi said the challenge was to stop the virus from spreading to new parts of the country.

"Till May 3, every Indian will have to stay in lockdown. I request all Indians that we stop the coronavirus from spreading to other areas," he said.

Modi spoke as the number of people infected with coronavirus reached 10,363, according to government data on Tuesday, of whom 339 have died.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies