Lockdown over but coronavirus still here, says Narendra Modi in speech; PM urges caution during Navratri, Durga Puja

Acknowledging that the country has come a long way in the fight against the pandemic since the 'Janata Curfew' in March, Modi said that India has been more successful in saving the lives of its citizens than more prosperous countries.

FP Staff October 20, 2020 19:26:55 IST
Lockdown over but coronavirus still here, says Narendra Modi in speech; PM urges caution during Navratri, Durga Puja

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing the nation on Tuesday. ANI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his seventh address to the nation since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, cautioned the public against letting guard down during the upcoming festive season.

"We must keep in mind that the lockdown is over but the coronavirus is still there," the prime minister said.

Acknowledging that the country has come a long way in the fight against the pandemic since the 'Janata Curfew' in March, Modi said that India has been more successful in saving the lives of its citizens than more prosperous countries.

"In India, the death rate at per million population is 83. On the contrary, in countries such as US, UK and Brazil, the number is over 600," the prime minister said.

In his nearly 13-minute speech, the prime minister said that the recovery rate in India was good and stated that 5,500 people out of every 10 lakh were infected in the country, whereas in countries like the US and Brazil this figure stood at around 25,000.

India would soon reach the landmark of 10 crore tests for the detection of the virus, the prime minister said, adding that the increase in tests has become one of the country's strengths in the fight.

"India also has a facility of more than 90 lakh beds for COVID-19 patients. There are 12,000 quarantine centres, around 2000 testing labs," he said and also lauded frontline workers for their efforts to combat the virus.

However, the prime minister observed that many people have started either stopped taking precautions or have started showing laxity in observing them.

"Recently, there have been many photos and videos where it is clearly seen that people are not being careful anymore. This isn't right. If you are careless, walking out without a mask, then you are putting yourself, your family, your family's children, the elderly at risk," he said.

Stressing that the virus had seen a resurgence in European countries as well as in the US, he said that precautions must be exercised till a vaccine was found while quoting Kabir to make his point.

All countries are working on a war-footing for making COVID-19 vaccine in order to save humanity, said Modi adding that scientists in India were also working in this regard and that some vaccine candidates in the country were in advance stages of trials.

The government is undertaking preparations to make the vaccine accessible to every Indian as soon as it is made available, the prime minister assured.

"Festivals are a time of happiness, of joy. We are moving ahead of a difficult time and a little carelessness can stop the progress and spoil our happiness,” he said.

“Taking care of responsibilities and vigilance will go hand in hand, only then will happiness remains in life," said Modi while again reminding people to wear masks, wash hands regularly and maintain social distancing.

"I want to see all of you safe and your families happy. I want to see festivals bring cheer your lives," said the prime minister while wishing citizens for upcoming festivals such as Eid, Diwali, Chhat puja, and also appealed social media users and the media to spread awareness.

Last week, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan had said it was hoped that by July capacity could be developed to provide 400-500 million doses of vaccines to 20-25 crore people in the country and a strategy was being designed for its distribution.

 

The Centre had recently launched a campaign mass awareness campaign to encourage COVID-appropriate behaviour.

The prime minister's address came as the coronavirus cases in India showed a decline. As many as 46,790 new infections were reported in the country in the last 24 hours, taking the caseload to 75,97,063, while the toll climbed to 1,15,197 with 587 fatalities.

According to the health ministry, active cases have been consistently declining and there are 7,48,538  active cases.

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