Prime Minister Modi addressed the country for the second time regarding the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic on the 24th of March. He had addressed the nation for the first time on the 19th of March. He had then appealed for people to observe ‘Janta Curfew’ on the 22nd to show their appreciation for the healthcare workers and other professionals battling the pandemic in the frontline. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister made a series of announcements regarding the crisis.
Narendra Modi began by expressing his gratitude towards every Indian for their participation in the Janta Curfew. He complimented the people of the country for observing a day of curfew to combat the crisis. He also said that numerous developed countries are also struggling to tackle the crisis. He said that it isn’t that the governments were lacking in resources but the speed at which the virus is spreading is overwhelming them. The Prime Minister also emphasized the need for social distancing and rebuked those who were violating the directions that have been issued towards the same.
The most important announcement made by the Prime Minister during his address was the declaration of a national lockdown. From the midnight of the intervening night between the 24th of March and the 25th, a national lockdown will be imposed across the country to prevent the virus from spreading any further. He requested every citizen of the country with folded hands to stay where they are.
The national lockdown has been announced for twenty-one days. The Prime Minister said that according to health experts, 21 days are essential to break the cycle of transmission of the Coronavirus. Narendra Modi said that he was making the announcement not merely as a Prime Minister but as a member of the family of every citizen. He said that the lockdown is extremely essential to prevent utter devastation of the country.
Prime Minister Modi also revealed a creative poster during his address. ‘Corona’, the poster said, was ‘Koi Road pe Na nikle’ (Don’t come out on the road). He also emphasized that countries such as the USA and Italy have world-class healthcare facilities and yet, they have not been able to prevent the spread of the virus. He said so in his efforts to make people realize how serious the situation is. Narendra Modi also said that some countries had enforced strict measures to curb the Coronavirus and as a consequence, only they are working towards getting control over the virus.
The Prime Minister said, “India is at a stage where our actions today will decide how much we can reduce the impact of this major disaster. It is time to strengthen our resolve again and again.” He added, “It is a time of patience and discipline. As long as there is a lockdown in the country, we have to keep our resolve, keep our oath.” Narendra Modi also repeatedly emphasized the gravity of the situation. “You have to remember that a Coronavirus infected person initially appears to be normal and doesn’t show symptoms. So maintain precautions and stay at home,” he said. “If we are not able to manage the upcoming 21 days, we will be pushed back 21 years,” he said.
An allocation of Rs. 15,000 crores have also been made for testing facilities for the Wuhan Coronavirus, PPEs, ICU, ventilators and training medical workers. The Prime Minister has also said that all steps are being taken to ensure the continuous supply of essential commodities across the country. Narendra Modi said that a ‘Lakshman Rekha’ has been drawn at their doorstep and everyone should stay at home for the duration of the lockdown.
Most of India has already been put into lockdown in the wake of the crisis. Interstate public transport and metro railways have already been suspended till the 31st. Meanwhile, India Inc. has also moved in to assist the government in this time of grave crisis. The production of masks, ventilators and other medical equipment has been ramped up to ensure that doctors at the forefront of the war against the Wuhan Coronavirus are adequately prepared for the same.