In an unprecedented move, India will shut down for 21 days starting midnight today, to shore up its defenses against the novel coronavirus.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus that has claimed nine lives and infected over five hundred in India.
"From 12 o'clock tonight there will be a complete lockdown across the country," Modi said in a televised address on Tuesday, adding that in the view of the current situation, the nationwide complete lockdown will be in place for 21 days (three weeks).
You have to remember that a Coronavirus infected person initially appears to be normal and doesn't show symptoms. So maintain precautions and stay at home: PM Narendra Modi #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/bGN50NBsXQ
— ANI (@ANI) March 24, 2020
"If we are not able to manage the upcoming 21 days (of the nationwide complete lockdown), we will be pushed back 21 years," he added in a televised address to the nation, the second within a week.
The prime minister also hailed the people for the success of 'Janata Curfew' saying that they showed how Indians can come together and fight against any problem that befalls their nation.
"The one-day janata curfew showed how we Indians come together and fight against any trouble which comes before the country and mankind," he added.
In his last address on 19 March, the prime minister had advocated for a 'Janata Curfew' on 22 March.
Modi had asked people to show their appreciation for medical and essential workers by clapping for them at 5 pm for five minutes on 22 March.
People followed his call and came to their terraces and balconies in large numbers to salute the frontline warriors in India’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The Janata Curfew also was a relative success with some instances of violations.
Modi on Tuesday also announced a Rs 15,000 crore package for COVID-19 disease, to acquire medical equipment and protective gear, and also increase training of medical and paramedical staff, testing facilities, PPEs, ICUs, and ventilators.
"I have appealed to state governments to make the public healthcare the highest priority right now. I am also sure that private companies will also join in the efforts to curb the infection," he said.
The prime minister’s address on coronavirus was broadcast across several television channels, including Doordarshan. The video is also available on the twitter handle of Prime Minister's Office.
The coronavirus pandemic has already affected close to 4 lakh people across the world with the toll due to the virus rising above 17,000. In India alone, over 500 people have tested positive for coronavirus with the government issuing lockdown across multiple states.
Updated Date: Mar 24, 2020 21:10:53 IST