PM Modi announces a 21 day lockdown across India
Srinagar: For the second time in a week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a complete lockdown across the country starting midnight in order to stave off the menace of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“In the view of the current situation, the nationwide complete lockdown will be in place for 21 days,” the Prime Minister declared in his second address to the nation.
“If we are not able to manage the upcoming 21 days (of nationwide complete lockdown), we will be pushed back 21 years,” PM Modi said. “This is applicable for everyone, including the Prime Minister.”
His second address comes as India has witnessed a spurt in the number of COVID-19 cases in the past few days. As per the latest briefing by the Health Ministry, the total number of cases has crossed 500, including 39 who have recovered and nine deaths.
He also emphasised the importance of social distancing in tackling the menace of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). “Social distancing is the only option to stay safe and to stop the coronavirus- stay at a distance from each other and stay inside your houses,” he said.
This lockdown, the Prime Minister said, is in a way a curfew and would be more stringent than Janta curfew. “We may have to pay a financial cost for this lockdown but it is important for the safety of people.”
The Prime Minister also asked the public to think about the frontline healthcare workers who are fighting tirelessly against the virus.
The government has extended the shutdown to domestic commercial aviation, stopping all flights from Tuesday midnight till March 31 with an aim to arrest the spread of the virus. About 30 states and Union territories have now announced a complete lockdown in 548 districts, while in 58 districts of three states, the curbs are partial.
In his previous address, PM Modi had cautioned against complacency on the pandemic while asking people to observe a self-imposed curfew on March 22 by not stepping out of homes between 7 am and 9 pm. He had exhorted people to thank doctors and providers of other essential services by ringing bells, clapping or other means.