AGENCIES, New Delhi: Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measure. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a complete lockdown of the country of 1.3 billion people from midnight, in which everyone will stay at home for three weeks to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“Forget about leaving home in the next 21 days. If you cross the Lakshman Rekha, you will invite the virus home,” Modi said in his second address to the nation in a week.
“From midnight, there will be a total lockdown in the entire country. It is more like curfew,” the Prime Minister said, praising citizens for making the ‘Janta Curfew’ or 14-hour self-quarantine on Sunday a success.
The Prime Minister said India was at a critical stage where even a single misstep could lead to 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.”
However, he assured not to panic as the Centre and the state governments are working in tandem to make the essential services reach the people.
India has more than 500 coronavirus cases. Nine people have died. Experts worry that without stringent measures like social distancing and quarantine, the virus will take on frightening proportions in India,” PM Modi said.
Folding his hands several times during the speech, his said, “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.
Modi said infected persons usually seemed normal at the start. “Experts also say that if a person is infected today, it takes many days for them to display symptoms, 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.”
My fellow citizens,
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO PANIC.
Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this.
Together, we will fight COVID-19 and create a healthier India.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 24, 2020