New Delhi – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appealed to all citizens to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid getting infected by the novel coronavirus, saying the world has never seen a danger as grave as this.
Modi also called for a ‘Janta curfew’ on March 22, from 7 am to 9 pm, and said no citizen, barring those in essential services, should get out of the house on that day.
The prime minister’s appeal came on a day when India reported the fourth COVID-19 related death in Punjab and the total number of confirmed cases in the country crossed the 170-mark.
Modi requested people to avoid going to hospitals for routine check-up to ease the pressure on the medical staff.
He said keeping in mind the economic challenges arising out of the pandemic, the government has decided to form a COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force.
The task force, to be headed by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will look at measures to limit economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Modi said in his address to the nation.
Sectors ranging from tourism to aviation to certain segments have been battered as countries closed borders, restricted air travel and industries went into emergency lockdowns.
He also appealed to the trading community as well as the affluent to look after the interest of their employees and not penalise them for being unable to attend work due to travel and other restrictions.
Asserting that the government is keeping a close watch on the track record of the spread of coronavirus, the prime minister sought to remind citizens that resolution and restraint was very important in combat against this global epidemic.
“I want some weeks of yours, some time of yours,” he said, while pointing out that no definite solution has been found, nor has any vaccine produced to deal with the coronavirus.
“This crisis has engulfed the entire human race. Even the World War I and II did not affect as many countries as the coronavirus has done,” Modi said.
Decrying the “all is well” mindset of certain people, Modi said: “For a developing country like ours with a large population, the growing challenge of coronavirus is not a normal situation,” Modi noted.
“As citizens, people need to strengthen their resolve to follow the advisories issued by the state and central governments to fight the coronavirus,” he said.
Modi appealed to all countrymen to follow the ‘Janta Curfew’ on Sunday. “If possible, please call at least 10 people every day and tell them about the ‘Janta Curfew’ as well as the measures to prevent coronavirus,” Modi said, and further requested that people, especially those above the age of 60, should go out of their homes only if essential, in the coming weeks.
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