Before entering into a serious problem of Corona Epidemic. Prime Minister Modi declared a 21 days nationwide lockdown starting midnight Tuesday, explaining that it was the only way of breaking the COVID19 infection cycle. “Social distancing is the only way to break the cycle of infection,” he said.
Modi told people to stay inside their homes for 21 days, warning that if they didn’t do so the country would be set back 21 years and families would be destroyed.
“This is like a curfew, and far stricter than the ‘Janata Curfew’ (on March 22),” the PM said. “Seeing the present conditions, this lockdown will be for 21 days. This is to save India, save each citizen and save your family. Do not step outside your house. For 21 days, forget what is stepping outside. There is a Lakshman Rekha on your doorstep. Even one step outside your house will bring the corona virus inside your house.”
Modi issued an appeal to the public to stop panic buying as people began crowding markets to stock up before the midnight deadline. The government also issued a notification that all essential services will remain open, as before, and all essential commodities and medicines would be available. Banks, ATMs, petrol pumps, hospitals and grocery shops will continue to function. But, all transport services air, rail and roadways will remain suspended until April 14.
The PM’s move extended a lockdown that had been imposed until March 31 by most states to April 14 and across the entire nation as India’s Covid-19 infection count rose to 536 on Tuesday from 471 the day before, while the death count rose to ten from nine. Health ministry figures shows 39 of these patients have been cured and discharged. Government officials described this as a positive development.
The Prime Minister said the lockdown will come at an “economic cost”, but his top priority was to save lives. “I fold my hands to say, please stay where you are,” the PM said. “All leading experts says 21 days is the minimum we require to break the coronavirus transmission cycle. If we are not able to handle these 21 days, the country and your family will go back to 21 years and many families will be destroyed. I am saying this not as the Prime Minister but as your family member.” He also added “Jaan hai to jahan hai.”
Modi conceded that these are tough times for the poor and said 21 days was a long time, but the coronavirus “spreads like fire”. He cited WHO data on the accelerating pace of the outbreak it took 67 days to reach 100,000 infections, and another 11 days to reach 200,000, but just four days to hit 300,000, he said.
He referred to the experience of several countries and said even developed nations with the best medical infrastructure had not been able to slow down the spread. He said the only “ray of hope” was the example of some that had managed to slow its spread by strictly implementing a lockdown.
“Some are under the misconception that social distancing is only for the ill or a patient,” he said. “Experts say that if today any person has coronavirus, then his symptoms can emerge after many days. So he or she can unknowingly infect many others who come in contact with him.”
The PM spoke of the Rs 15,000 crore provision made for coronavirus testing facilities, personal protective equipment, beds, ventilators and other infrastructure.
“I have asked states that first priority should be health care. I am satisfied that our private sector is also standing with country — both private hospitals and labs,” he said. “Also, don’t listen to rumours as they spread fast. Save yourself from superstition and do not take any medicine without a doctor’s advice. Your mistake can put your life in more danger.”