The Indian EXPRESS
Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on coronavirus LIVE updates: “In the view of the current situation, the nationwide complete lockdown will be in place for 21 days,” the Prime Minister declared.
For the second time in a week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a complete lockdown across the country starting midnight in order 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.
“If we are not able to manage the upcoming 21 days (of nationwide complete lockdown), we will be pushed back 21 years,” PM Modi added.
He also emphasised the importance of social distancing in tackling the menace of the novel coronavirus (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 in his second address to the nation.
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.
The government has extended the shutdown to domestic commercial aviation, stopping all flights from Tuesday midnight till March 31 with an aim to arrest the spread of the virus. About 30 states and Union territories have now announced a complete lockdown in 548 districts, while in 58 districts of three states, the curbs are partial. In his previous address, PM Modi had cautioned against complacency on the pandemic while asking people to observe a self-imposed curfew on March 22 by not stepping out of homes between 7 am and 9 pm. He had exhorted people to thank doctors and providers of other essential services by ringing bells, clapping or other means.
He had also announced that an Economic Response Task Force under the leadership of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would decide on a relief package, based on regular interactions and feedback from all stakeholders and an analysis of all situations and dimensions.
From the industry sector to media houses, the Prime Minister has been conducting a series of video conference interactions with various stakeholders on tackling the virus.