Written byShalini Ojha ·
The entire country will go under complete lockdown starting midnight for 21 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Tuesday.
He said it is just like a curfew and it was imposed to save countrymen from the novel coronavirus, which has taken over 17,000 lives worldwide.
At the outset of his address, he thanked Indians for participating in the Janata curfew of March 22.
PM Modi said the pandemic has crippled nations, even the most developed ones. He added first-world countries were struggling despite having all the means.
"There is no other way to control the virus except social distancing. Social distancing is for everyone and not only citizens," he said.
PM Modi lamented that the carelessness of a few will trouble the entire country soon.
Explaining how easily the virus spreads, PM Modi quoted WHO data.
The apex global body had underscored that it took 67 days for coronavirus cases to reach 100,000; 11 days to touch 200,000-mark, and merely four days to climb 300,000 cases worldwide.
"Today India is at the stage where our actions today, will decide that to what extent we can bring down the impact of this disaster," he said.
To make the address more relatable, PM Modi showed a meme, which he said he came across on social media. He said corona stands for Koi road par naa nikle (nobody should leave their homes).
He said just one step outside your homes will cause catastrophic damage and its important to maintain patience and remain disciplined.
"Please stay inside homes," he pleaded.
Further, PM Modi announced an economical package of Rs. 15,000 crore to deal with the pandemic. This money will be used for testing, PPEs, ICUs, ventilators, and training medical workers, he underlined.
He said healthcare must be the top priority of all states. Saying that rumors spread like wildfire, PM Modi urged citizens to not take medicines without consulting doctors.
After PM Modi's speech citizens, Indians rushed to stock essentials, but he tweeted there is no need to panic.
"Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this. Together, we will fight COVID-19 and create a healthier India," his tweet read.
However, the modalities of this lockdown are yet to be out.
The number of cases in India has reached 467 and 10 people have died.
With the number of positive COVID-19 cases rising recently, 30 states and union territories have been put under complete lockdown.
Rail services have been suspended and all airlines have been directed to plan domestic journeys in a way that flights land at their destinations before 2359 hours today.
Earlier, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a slew of measures to give reprieve to Indians. The Indian economy, already suffering from the last couple of months, faced the brunt of the pandemic too.
Sitharaman extended the date for filing Income Tax Returns to June 30, and said March, April, May 2020 GST returns and Composition returns can be filed till the aforementioned date too.
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