From Our Bureau
14th April 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced the extension of lockdown in the country till 3rd May, 2020. The earlier 21 day lock-down ended on the 14th of April 2020.
Addressing the Nation on measures initiated for combating the spread of the Corona virus, the PM said the extension of lockdown was decided keeping in mind suggestions from many states, experts and the people. He asked people to continue maintaining vigil and to adhere to social distancing during this lockdown.
He also suggested that those areas which are of low risk may be permitted to open up for certain specific activities from 20th April 2020. “Until 20th April, every town, every police station, every district, every state will be evaluated on how much the lockdown is being followed. Areas that succeed in this litmus test, those which will not be in the hot-spot category, and will have less likelihood to turn into a hot-spot, may be allowed to open up select necessary activities from 20thApril. However, permissions will be withdrawn immediately if lockdown rules are broken, and if there is threat of spread of Coronavirus,” he observed.
The Easing of restrictions in the low risk areas is being done keeping in mind the difficulties being faced by the poor and daily wage earners, he said. “Those who earn daily, make ends meet with daily income, they are my family. One of my top-most priorities is to reduce the difficulties in their lives. The government has made every possible effort to help them through Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna. Their interests have also been taken care of while making the new guidelines,” he added.
“I am well aware of the problems you have faced -some for food, some for movement from place to place, and others for staying away from homes and families. However, for the sake of your country, you are fulfilling your duties like a disciplined soldier. This is the power of ‘We, the People of India’ that our Constitution talks about,” he said.
The Prime Minister pointed out that India had been pro-active even before a single case of COVID -19 surfaced in the country. He said the screening of the international passengers, 14-day mandatory isolation of the international travellers, shutting of malls, clubs, gyms were taken at very early stages. India also proactively went into a nation-wide lock down for three weeks.
Compared to other COVID-19 affected world’s big and powerful countries, India was in a very well managed situation. “A month, month and a half ago, several countries had been at par with India in terms of Corona infection. But today, Corona cases in those countries are 25 to 30 times more than that of India. Thousands of people have tragically died in those countries. Had India not adopted a holistic and integrated approach, taking quick and decisive action; the situation in India today would have been completely different,” he observed.
He said that India has benefitted from Lockdown. He said that notwithstanding the economic travails being faced, it is clearly the correct path as it protected so many lives in the country. “From an economic only point of view, it undoubtedly looks costly right now; but measured against the lives of Indian citizens, there is no comparison itself. The path that India has taken within our limited resources has become a topic of discussion in the entire world today,” he pointed out.
He assured the country that there are ample reserves of medicines, food and other essential goods. He also assured that the health infrastructure is being further strengthened. “From having only one testing lab for Corona virus in January, we now have more than 220 functional testing labs. Global experience shows that 1,500-1,600 beds are required for every 10,000 patients. In India, we have arranged more than 1 Lakh beds today. Not only this, there are more than 600 hospitals which are dedicated for COVID treatment. As we speak, these facilities are being increased even more rapidly,” he added.
The Prime Minister exhorted the citizens to follow seven steps in their fight against the pandemic: First, to take special care of the elderly, especially those who have chronic disease; Second, to completely adhere to the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of Lockdown and Social Distancing; use homemade face-covers and masks without fail; Third, to follow the instructions issued by AYUSH ministry to enhance immunity; Fourth, to download the Arogya Setu Mobile App to help prevent the spread of corona infection. Inspire others to download the app as well; Fifth, to take care of poor families; to fulfil their food requirements; Sixth, to be compassionate towards the people who work in every individual business or industry. Do not deprive them of their livelihood; Seventh, to pay utmost respect to our nation’s Corona Warriors – our doctors and nurses, sanitation workers and police force. (eom)