PM Modi Live on Coronavirus: India bound in ‘Lakshman Rekha’ for next 21 days
PM Modi in his live address to the nation on strategy to combar Coronavirus said social distancing that could only be enforced by a strict adherence to the rule of staying indoors was the only solution. It was a long duration but necessary for the safety of each Indian.Updated: Mar 24, 2020 22:15 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown for the country beginning midnight saying it was being done to save the lives of 1.3 billion Indians and added that there will be a complete ban on people stepping out of their homes for the next 21 days, which if not followed, will set the country back by 21 years.
‘If we won’t follow the nationwide lockdown for 21 days, we will be pushed back by 21 years,’ PM said, underlining the centrality of this measure to India’s efforts to prevent it from breaking lose.
“Coming 21 days are very important for us. Health experts say 21 days are very important to break the cycle of coronavirus infections,” PM said.
He reiterated that social distancing, which could only be enforced by a strict adherence to the principle of staying indoors, was the only solution in this unprecedented crisis. He added that while he recognised that the lockdown period of 21 days was long but added that it was necessary for the safety of every Indian family.
‘No matter what happens, we don’t have to come out of our houses,’ he said more than once.
Coronavirus has infected over 500 people in the country so far but globally the toll has crossed 334,000 with close to 15,000 fatalities.
The prime minister used examples of advanced economies like the United States and Italy to drive home the point that the contagion, if allowed to enter the community transmission stage, can prove to be unstoppable and destructive for a developing economy of the size of India.
He said some people’s carelessness will cost India dear and it was difficult to gauge how enormous this cost will be, while urging the residents to honour lockdown provisions enforced across the country.
He reminded the country that he had asked every Indian to be prepared to sacrifice a “few weeks” to deal with this extraordinary challenge posed by the global pandemic during his last address to the nation on March 19, when he identified “resolve and restraint” as the two tools to fight the disease and introduced the 14-hour long ‘Janta Curfew’- a precursor to the nationwide lockdown.
PM’s address comes amid accusations of delayed government response and pressure from the opposition to devise a comprehensive strategy to deal with the economic challenges arising out of the situation. States have also demanded fiscal relief and help from the centre.
The prime minister also announced that the central government had made an allocation of Rs 15,000 crore to strengthen health infrastructure in the wake of the outbreak that is putting it to test.
Earlier today, centre issued advisory to all states/UTs to use cess fund corpus worth Rs, 52000 crore for the welfare of about 3.5 crore construction workers is registered with Construction welfare Boards.
The prime minister added that the country “may have to pay a financial cost for this lockdown” but it was “important for the safety of people”.