New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday announced a “full lockdown” across the country for the next 21 days, starting midnight tonight.
To break the chain of infection caused by the coronavirus pandemic, PM Modi warned the country of unimaginable consequences if “social distance” is not maintained.
“If the negligence continues in not maintaining the social distance, India will have to pay a huge price… We can’t even estimate how much we will have to pay for this loss. If we fail to control the pandemic, the country will regress 21 years,” Modi said, adding that his analysis is based on the trends in countries, which are fighting the highly infectious virus.
“The lockdown for the next 21 days is very critical to break the chain of infection that the deadly virus creates.”
The PM even folded his hands during his address and urged everyone to stay indoors.
“This lockdown will cause a huge economic loss to the country. But my primary responsibility at this hour is to save you, your family and this nation,” he said.
Special package for healthcare sector
Citing the crumbling healthcare system of other developed countries across the globe, Modi said, “Coronavirus has broken the backbone of even the most capable nations. Their healthcare systems have shattered. This doesn’t mean these nations are not trying but they are unable to control the spread. This virus is multiplying and growing stronger.”
The PM also announced a Rs 15,000-crore fund for the healthcare sector to meet the needs of personal protective equipment, ventilators, ICU beds and other essentials.
He assured there is sufficient stock of essential goods across the country.
During the speech, the PM repeated at least thrice that people should stay at home, adding that it was the only way to fight the global pandemic.
‘All states must prioritise healthcare service’
The PM quoted figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) and explained how initially it took 67 days for 1 lakh people around the world to get infected. In the 11 days that followed, another 1 lakh got affected, and in the next four days, the number of cases rose to 3 lakh.
“This shows how fast this virus spreads. This is why things in countries like China, Italy, France and Iran went out of hand,” he added.
He also noted that the US and Italy have been severely affected despite having very advanced healthcare facilities. He said the only ray of hope comes from the countries that have been able to control the virus.
“Citizens in these countries followed government orders and hence were able to emerge victorious from the epidemic,” he said.
Wuhan in China, where the outbreak first started, has been able to completely stop new cases after the city was kept under strict lockdown.
The PM also added that all states should prioritise healthcare service in the wake of the pandemic, and noted that the private sector has stepped forward to work with the government during this time.
He also appealed to people to not believe in rumours and superstitions floating around on social media, and advised them to not take any medicines without consulting doctors.