Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday addressed the nation over Covid-19 and the government’s efforts to combat it. He called for a ‘janta curfew’ from 7 am to 9 pm on 22 March, Sunday and advised people against hoarding essential items.
In a press briefing earlier, the health ministry had also issued new guidelines, including asking states to enforce work from home for the private sector, except for those working in emergency and essential services.
The government also announced that it will not allow any international commercial passenger aircraft to land in India from March 22 for one week. Centre said the railways and Civil Aviation Ministry must suspend all concessional travel on trains and flights, except for students, patients and disabled people.
So far, India has reported 173 cases of COVID-19 — 149 are active, 19 have recovered, 1 has migrated and four have died.
Here are the highlights from Modi’s speech:
— “There’s a need to follow two important things to combat coronavirus — resolve and restraint.”
— “Today, what is known as social distancing, is very important in the present phase of coronavirus pandemic.”
— “All senior citizens should stay at home for the next few weeks.”
— “Every citizen should follow janta curfew from 7 am to 9 pm on 22 March. Only people related to essential services should come out on 22 March.”
— “Success of janta curfew and its experience will prepare us for the next challenge.”
—“At 5 pm on 22 March, all citizens should acknowledge and thank those at the forefront of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic like medical staff, police, government servants, airline staff and those involved in providing home delivery. People should stand in the balconies or at the door of their houses and clap or ring bells for five minutes.”
— “I request all to avoid going to the hospital for a routine check up. If you find it very necessary, take advice on call from doctors you know.”
— “This pandemic has severely affected the economy. Government has decided to form a Covid-19 Economic Response Task Force headed by the finance minister.”
— “I appeal to the people not to hoard essential items out of panic. Government is taking all necessary steps to ensure supply of essential commodities.”