Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Thursday evening regarding the measures being taken to battle the COVID-19 outbreak and how citizens can help in preventing the spread of the virus.
Here are some key highlights of what the prime minister said:
- People should come out of their houses only when it is necessary and should try and work from home as much as possible. Senior citizens in particular should stay at home
- PM Modi called for a “janata curfew” on Sunday, March 22 from 7.00 am to 9.00 pm IST. He asked for all citizens, except those involved with essential services, to refrain from stepping out of their houses. “This citizen curfew will tell us how prepared we are to deal with this pandemic,” said Modi.
- The prime minister also urged all Indians on March 22 at 5.00 pm IST to thank doctors, medical professionals and cleaning staff for their services
- Modi encouraged people to avoid going to hospitals for routine check-ups so as to not put pressure on healthcare facilities
- Keeping in mind the economic challenge posed by COVID-19, the PM announced the setting up of a COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force to be led by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The special task force, he said, would take an overview of the situation and suggest the way ahead.
- Modi also urged people to avoid panic buying and hoarding of essentials like food and medicine
"Coronavirus has endangered humanity. It has affected more nations than the World War," said PM Modi.
"There is no cure for this, so we need to remain healthy. We need to avoid crowds and stay home. Social distancing is critical. If you think you can roam around as usual and feel you will not be at risk, this is incorrect; you are endangering yourself and your family," he added encouraging people to stay at home as much as possible.
“We must dedicate all our efforts to save ourselves from this contagion,” said the prime minister. “Humanity must win. India must win.”