By — Shyamal Sinha
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the last day of the 21-day lockdown. He announced that the lockdown has been extended till May 3 and will be imposed even more strictly.
This is Mr. Modi’s third address to the nation in the last one month in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 19, the Prime Minister proposed a day-long Janata Curfew on March 22, saying no citizen, barring those in essential services, should get out of the house. He had urged the nation to applaud at 5 pm that day the selfless work of essential services personnel.
On March 24, Mr. Modi again addressed the nation — this time he announced a 21-day lockdown, which ends today. On April 3, he sent out a video message to urge all citizens to switch off all lights for nine minutes and light up lamps or torch or cellphone flashlights.
Coronavirus disease spreads primarily through contact with an infected person when they cough or sneeze. It also spreads when a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it, then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
India’s combat with the Coronavirus pandemic is going ahead with full force, says Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He credits the People of India for the “discipline and sacrifice” of the people because of which we were able to withstand the full force of the pandemic.
“I know there have been many difficulties of people stuck away from home but you have persisted in these fights. I bow to you,” he says.
Your efforts exemplify what is meant by the phrase “We the People of India” in our Constitution, Mr. Modi says invoking B.R. Ambedkar on his birth anniversary.
“This is a true homage to the framer of the Constitution Babasaheb Ambedkar. I on behalf of all bow to him on his birth anniversary, as we take on the lessons of his life of prevailing despite hardship,” he says.
He also reminds it is the New Year for several people. “In many states, today also marks the beginning of the new year,” he says. The way people are maintaining discipline and celebrating these festivals with simplicity is something to be inspired by and appreciated, he adds.
Today, the situation with regard to this pandemic is familiar to all, Mr. Modi says highlighting the nation’s efforts to combat the pandemic. He recalls how India started screening people returning from abroad even before the disease was detected in the country.
We declared lockdown when there were as many as 550 cases, he says. “We did not procrastinate but tried to address the crisis as and when they did.”
It may not be correct to compare our efforts with other nations, but India is better positioned than many developed nations, he says. In several countries, the fatality rate and the number of cases is much higher than India, Mr. Modi says.
We managed to contain the epidemic by effectively following social distancing and lockdown, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says. Yes, we have paid a big price due to lockdown, but this nothing in front of the lives of the Indian citizens, Mr. Modi says.
Despite all these efforts, coronavirus is spreading at an astonishing rate, Mr. Modi notes.
We had a lengthy discussion with states and experts. While several states have already extended the lockdown, the nationwide lockdown will be extended till May 3,
“Till May 3rd we must remain under lockdown and observe the same discipline,” Mr. Modi says.
My request to all countrymen is that we must prevent the spread of Coronavirus to any place, Mr. Modi says. The number of hotspots should not be allowed to increase at any cost, the Prime Minister says.
“We must now delineate hotspots and observe disease surveillance. The creation of new hotspots will be challenging for our efforts. In the next week, therefore, the fight against Corona will be stricter,” Mr. Modi says.
Till April 20 every district, thana and state will be minutely observed and a continuous assessment made on the efforts made and success of efforts, he explains.
The areas that are successful in controlling the outbreak till April 20th will be given some relief. But these will also be under strict conditions and any break with that will lead to a return to an earlier position. The government will issue a guideline for this, he adds.
The deadline of April 20th is being done to give relief to our poor compatriots who are on daily wages, Mr. Modi says adding that through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana we have tried to help the poorest in the country.
At this time the Rabi harvesting is on, we are trying to help our farmer brothers too, he says.
There is enough food and medicine in the country, Mr. Modi assures the nation. We are also moving fast in the case of health infrastructure. When we started we had only one lab now we have 220 labs. There are over 600 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals today, he adds.
The experience of the works says for every 10,000 patients you need 15,000-16,000 beds, he notes.
Despite a crunch in resources I request young scientists to come forward and proceed with efforts to create a vaccine. We will, with our efforts and discipline, prevail, Mr. Modi says.
-Take care of the elderly in the house, especially those with co-morbidities. They are more vulnerable to contract the virus.
-Please maintain lockdown and social distancing. Use face masks even if it is homemade.
– Try and observe the advisory by Ayush ministry on boosting immunity
-Download the Arogyasetu App and urge others to download too.
-Help the poor, as much as possible.
-Help your colleagues and those working under you. Don’t retrench them.
-Respect the medical professionals and all those essential service people working day and night for you.
This is our saptapati (Seven Sacred Vows), Mr. Modi says.
Mr. Modi ends his speech by wishing everyone a healthy life.
Modi’s announcement came amid debates in countries around the world on how to lift restrictions while avoiding a spike in new infections.