Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday ordered 1.3 billion people of India to stay inside their homes for three weeks starting Wednesday. The 21-day lockdown is being considered as one of the most severe actions undertaken anywhere to stop the spread of coronavirus.
PM Modi declares, “From midnight, the entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown. To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family… every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown.”
During his half-hour speech PM Modi folded his hands several times, and said, “I fold my hands to say — please stay where you are.”
“All leading experts say 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 21years and many families will be destroyed. I am saying this not as the Prime Minister but as your family member.”
He said there is absolutely no matter to panic as centre and states are working to ensure that essential supplies are not disrupted. An aide of Rs 15,000 crore has set aside to strengthen the health infrastructure to tackle coronavirus.
“This is like a curfew, and far stricter than the ‘Janata Curfew’. 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 coronavirus inside your house,” he added.
People were seen gathering in the markets to stock up the essentials. The government urged the people not to panic as all essential services will remain open. Banks, ATMs, petrol pumps, hospitals and grocery shops will continue to function.
Highlighting the spreading process of the virus, PM Modi said, “Experts say if a person is infected today, it takes many days for them to display symptoms, they unknowingly infect all who come in contact with them in this period. A single infected person can infect hundreds in weeks, it spreads like fire.”
Referring to a World Health Organisation report, he pointed out that COVID-19 took 67 days to spread to one lakh people. To reach two lakh people, it took 11 days. But it took only four days to reach another lakh, taking the total spread to three lakhs. He also appreciated the innovative ideas of people who are sharing on social media to make aware people about the virus. He shared a banner that explains, corona means ‘Koi road par na nikle.”