As India crosses 2,900 coronavirus cases and 60 deaths due to the virus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 announced that the entire country will be under complete lockdown for the next 21 days. This comes after the nation observed self-imposed public curfew on March 22, which many called a practice for nationwide lockdown.
PM Modi explained that a lockdown was the only way to avoid community spread of the deadly virus which has so far infected 170 countries all over the world.
PM Modi said that the lockdown will etch a Lakshman Rekha outside everyone’s house, which must not be crossed. “Forget about leaving your house for next 21 days, stay where you are,” the prime minister said. Underscoring the importance of social distancing, PM Modi said, “If we don’t handle these 21 days well, then our country, your family will go backwards by 21 years.”
“Coronavirus took 67 days to reach the first one lakh people and only 11 days to reach the next one lakh. What’s more frightening is that his disease took just four days to reach from two lakh to three lakh,” the PM said.
No need to panic
After addressing the nation for the second time in less than a week amid Coronavirus crisis, PM Modi took to Twitter to assure the citizens that there is no need to panic. “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,” PM Modi tweeted.
Essential services exempted
After PM Modi’s address, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines for 21-day nationwide lockdown. According to the guidelines, executive magistrates will be deployed by district magistrate to enforce the lockdown. The guidelines clarified that fair price shops and those dealing with food, groceries, fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, fish, animal fodder will remain open.
Besides, hospitals, nursing homes, police, fire stations, and ATMs will continue to work. Banks, insurance offices, print and electronic media too will continue to work.
(Curated by Priya Pareek)