NEW DELHI, Mar 24, 2020, The Hindu. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a 21-day lockdown starting from midnight tonight as major step in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. All essential services will continue and remain functional. The list of essential services remains unchanged since the March 22 ‘Janata Curfew’, The Hindi reported.
“My dear countrymen, I once again have come among you to speak about Coronavirus.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi begins his speech “The resolution that we made on March 22, of a Janata Curfew, all carried it out with the greatest sincerity and came together.”
Mr. Modi says “With one day’s Janata Curfew the country demonstrated that when there is a crisis before the country or humanity, we stand united.
“You are watching what the global situation is with regard to Coronavirus.
‘Most countries are helpless’
“Even the most prosperous of countries have been made helpless by this pandemic.”
The Prime Minister says “It’s not like they don’t have resources or they are not trying, but the virus is such that these efforts are not enough.”
“The experience of these countries in the last two months, and what the experts are also saying is that there is only one way to effectively combat it is social distancing.”
He says “To stop Coronavirus, we must break the cycle of its spread.
“Some people are under the erroneous assumption that social distancing is only for those who are infected, but that is not true. It’s for everyone even for the PM.”
“The irresponsibility of some people will imperil your life, the life of your children. If this continues then you and India may have to pay a huge price.
Mr. Modi says “In the last two days several states have gone under lockdown. From 12 midnight, the whole country will come under complete lockdown.”
The Prime Minister says “This is being done to save every citizen of the country.”
Mr. Modi “In every state, every union territory, every district, kasbah is being lockeddown. This is a curfew, stricter than Janata curfew.”
Mr. Modi says “No doubt we will have to pay a cost for this, but to save the life of every Indian is the priority for me, government of India, state governments, local government.”
“As of now the lockdown will be for three weeks, 21 days.”
“I ask that you please stay where you are. The coming 21 days are very important to break the coronavirus infection cycle. If we are not sincere in the curfew for 21 days then the country will fall back 21 years. For 21 days forget about venturing out. Stay home. Just do that one thing.”
Mr. Modi says “Draw a Laxman Rekha outside your door and remember that even step outside of it will bring Coronavirus into your house. Corona yaani koi road par na nikley”.
Mr. Modi says “Experts also say that if today anyone acquired the virus, symptoms arise several days later. Within that time he/she can infect others.”
‘Fast spreading infection’
“WHO says that one infected person can spread it to several people within a week. It’s a fast spreading infection. It took 67 days for the first 100,000 cases. The next 100,000 came up within only 11 days.
“What is most scary that it reached 300,000 within 4 days. You can see how fast it can spread and once it does it’s difficult to stop it.
“In Countries like China, US, Italy, Iran once things went out of hand it’s been difficult to get back control it. Italy and US and UK are considered countries with good health infrastructure and still they are struggling.
Mr. Modi says “The ray of hope has come from the experience from countries where some control has been found over the infection. These are countries that enforced social distance rigorously.
‘Social distancing must’
The Prime Minister says “No matter what we should stay at home. Social distance applies from Prime Minister to every citizen.
“State and Centre are both making efforts to make sure that we tackle this challenge. For sure this challenge will be particularly hard for the poor. Alongside Govt, civil society outfits should help mitigate some of their hardship. We have to prioritise what is required for saving life. The govt has taken advise from WHO, scientists and health experts.”
Mr. Modi says “Government has allotted ₹15,000 crores to strengthen health infra to combat coronavirus. This will be spent on testing centres, PPE, ventilators and other equipment. Private sector and private labs have also joined the fight.”
Mr. Modi says “Friends do remember that at such times rumours also abound. Please try and avoid being swayed by rumours.”
The Prime Minister says “I pray that you do not take any medicine without consultation with a doctor.”
Mr. Modi finally asserts “21 days of lockdown is a long time but for the safety of your family this is the only way that we have. I am confident that every Indian will not only combat this difficult situation but will emerge victorious. “