PM declares 21-day pan-India lockdown to defeat corona
Forget about leaving home for the next 21 days,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday night, adding, “If you cross the Lakshman Rekha, you will invite the virus home.”
In his second address to the nation within a week, the PM said the country will be under a complete three-week lockdown from Tuesday midnight to fight the spread of coronavirus. “This lockdown will be strictly imposed in every village and every lane. According to health experts, 21 days are necessary to break the cycle of coronavirus. If these 21 days are not observed as a lockdown, it will take us back 21 years,” the PM said.
The essential services that were functional on March 22 during the Janata Curfew will remain operational even during the complete nationwide lockdown announced by the PM on Tuesday. This includes grocery stores, among other facilities.
“From midnight, the entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown. To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family… every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown… 21 days’ lockdown may seem to be a long time, but this is the only way to ensure everyone is safe. If we don’t handle these 21 days well, then our country, your family will go backwards by 21 years,” the PM said, folding his hands.
Referring to efforts made by the world to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Modi said that the precaution of social distancing is a tried and tested way of succeeding in curbing the pandemic. “There is a misconception that social distancing is only for those who are sick. Social distancing is for everyone, even the Prime Minister! Some people are spreading false information, which will affect every single citizen of the country. And if all citizens are affected, the negative effects are unimaginable,” he said.
The Centre and States are working to ensure that essential supplies are not disrupted, he said, adding that his Government had set aside Rs 15,000 crore to strengthen the health infrastructure to tackle coronavirus. Asserting that India was at a critical stage in its battle against coronavrius, Modi said even a single mistake could see the deadly virus spreading like wildfire. “Some think social distancing is only for patients. That’s not correct. Social distancing is the only way to fight the virus. It is for every citizen, every family, every member, even for the Prime Minister.”
“Experts say if a person is infected today, it takes many days for them to display symptoms, and they unknowingly infect all who come in contact with them in this period. A single infected person can infect hundreds in weeks, it spreads like fire,” the Prime Minister said. Referring to a WHO report, he pointed out that COVID-19 took 67 days to spread to one lakh people.
To reach two lakh people, it took 11 days. But it took only four days to reach another lakh, taking the total spread to three lakhs. Today’s action would decide how much India could stop the spread of the pandemic, Modi said, and shared a social media post.
“Those who are inside their homes are informing people with the new innovative ideas. I am sharing the banner which I liked. Corona means ‘koi road par na nikle’,” the PM said.
In the backdrop of reports of harassment of doctors and Air India staff by people under the impression that they could spread the disease, Modi appealed for compassion towards those engaged in serving the people during this critical time. Modi said that every citizen should be compassionate and grateful for those in essential services like doctors and nurses and police, and even the media and hygiene workers who are sanitising public areas. Making a strong pitch for social distancing, Modi said, “People in countries like America have adhered to the quarantine guidelines laid down by the Government to the last letter, which is how they are starting to overcome the disease now. Social distancing – from the Prime Minister down to the last citizen in every village, has to follow self-isolation.”
Wednesday, 25 March 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
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