India orders total lockdown of 1.3 billion people for 21 days
Published : Tuesday, 24 March, 2020 at 9:22 PM Count : 264
India has announced a "total lockdown" of its population of 1.3 billion people in the fight against coronavirus,
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday announced a complete lockdown across the country for three weeks starting from midnight 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 in a week, reports The Indian Express.
"If we are not able to manage the upcoming 21 days, we will be pushed back by 21 years," PM Modi said, adding that "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 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 virus has been spreading very fast across the world. It spreads like wildfire. Looking at the experience of these countries, and what the experts say, the only successful way to tackle the spread of the virus is social distancing," said the Prime Minister.
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."
He further stated that an estimated Rs 15,000 crore has been allotted for the virus testing facilities, PPEs, ICUs, ventilators and training medical workers.
The Prime Minister also asked the public to think about the frontline healthcare workers who are fighting tirelessly against the virus.
"Lockdown of 21 days is a long time, but this is important for you and your family’s safety," he continued. "I believe that every Indian will not only successfully tackle this challenge but also emerge victorious in this time of crisis."