Prime Minister's Office
Text of PM’s address to the nation on Vital aspects relating to the menace of COVID-19
24 MAR 2020 8:57PM by PIB Delhi
My dear fellow citizens,
Today, once again, I am in your midst to discuss the Corona Global Pandemic.
On 22nd March, we resolved to undertake Janata-Curfew. As a nation, every Indian contributed with full responsibility and sensitivity to ensure its success. Children and elders alike, the poor, middle class and the rich, all came together in this hour of crisis. Every Indian made Janata-Curfew a success.
By a single day of Janata-Curfew, India proved that when the nation is facing a crisis, when humanity is facing a crisis, every Indian comes together to overcome it. All of you deserve praise for ensuring the success of Janata-Curfew.
You are all seeing and hearing about the developments around the globe regarding the Corona Pandemic through the news. You are also witnessing how this pandemic has rendered even the most developed countries of the world helpless. It is not that these countries are not putting in adequate efforts, or that they lack resources. The fact is that the Coronavirus is spreading so rapidly that despite all preparations and efforts, countries are finding it hard to cope with the situation.
An analysis of developments in all these countries over the past two months as well as opinions of experts, has established that Social Distancing is the only way to effectively deal with the virus. That is, maintain physical distance from each other and stay within the confines of one’s home. There is no other way to escape Coronavirus.If we want to restrict the spread of Coronavirus, we will have to break its chain of infection.
Some people are under the misconception that social distancing is essential only for sick people. It is wrong to make such assumptions. Social distancing is necessary for each citizen, each family, and each and every member of the family.
The carelessness or ill-conceived notions of a few can throw you, your children, your parents, your family, your friends, and in fact the entire country, into grave jeopardy. It is impossible to even estimate the price India will have to pay if such carelessness continues.
In the last two days, several parts of the country have been put under lockdown. These efforts by State Governments should be taken very seriously.
Keeping in mind health sector experts and experiences of other countries, the nation is about to take a very important decision today. From 12 midnight today the entire country, please listen carefully, the entire country shall go under complete lockdown. In order to protect the country, and each of its citizens, from midnight tonight, a complete ban is being imposed on people from stepping out of their homes.
Every State of the country, every Union Territory, every district, every municipality, every village, every every street, every locality is being put under lockdown. This is in effect a type of curfew only. A few levels more than Janata-Curfew, it is more stringent.
This is a critical step in the decisive fight against the Corona Pandemic. There is no doubt the nation will have to pay an economic cost for this lockdown. However, at this moment, my utmost priority, and that of the Government of India, State and local Governments is to protect the life of every Indian. Hence, it is my plea and prayer to you to continue to remain wherever you are right now in the country.
In view of the current situation, this lockdown in the country will be for 21 days. The next 21 days are of great importance for us. As per health experts, a period of at least 21 days is critical to break the infection cycle of Coronavirus. If we are not able to manage these 21 days, the country and your family could be set back 21 years. If we are not able to manage these 21 days, several families will get devastated forever.
Hence, you must forget what going out means for the next 21 days. Stay inside your home, stay inside your home, and do just one thing - stay inside your home.
This decision of a nationwide lockdown that has been taken today has drawn a ‘Lakshman Rekha’ at your doorsteps. You must remember, that a single step outside your home can bring a dangerous pandemic like Corona inside. You must remember that at times, a person infected with Corona may seem completely healthy in the beginning, as it is difficult to identify he is infected. Therefore, take necessary precautions and stay inside your homes.
By the way, the people who are staying at home, are employing new innovative methods over social media to disseminate information. There is one banner that I liked, which I want to also show you.
Corona, or KOi ROad pe NA Nikle (that is, no one should go out on the road)
Experts have even said that when Corona infects a person, it may take days for the symptoms to manifest. During this time, such a person unknowingly infects many others who he comes in contact with. According to a World Health Organization report, a person infected with this virus can transmit it to hundreds of people within the span of 7 to 10 days. This means, that it spreads like wildfire.
Another estimate given by the World Health Organization is very important. It took 67 days for the count of people infected with Corona to reach the 1st one lakh all over the world.
After this, it took only 11 days for another one lakh people to get infected.
It took the world 67 days for the number of Coronavirus infected persons to reach the first one lakh, but only 11 days to reach two lakh thereafter. What is even more alarming is that it took only 4 days for this number to go from 2 lakh to 3 lakh infections. You can imagine how rapidly Coronavirus spreads. And once it begins to spread, it is very difficult to contain.
This is the reason that the situation became uncontrollable when Coronavirus started spreading in countries like China, US, France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Iran. Keep in mind that whether it is Italy or US, the healthcare services in these countries are considered to be among the best in the world. Despite this, they have not been able to contain the impact of Corona. The question at hand is, where does one see a ray of hope in this situation? What is the solution, what are the options?
The ray of hope to combat Corona comes from the experiences of those countries that have been able to contain Corona to some extent. Citizens of these countries have not stepped out of their homes for weeks. Citizen of these countries have fully adhered to the government rules. Hence, these countries are now moving towards overcoming this pandemic.
We should also accept that this is the only way before us. We must not step outside our homes. Whatever happens, we must stay indoors. We can save ourselves from the Coronavirus only if we do not cross the Lakshman Rekha of our homes. We have to stop the spread of this pandemic, and break the chain of infection.
Presently, India is at a stage where the actions we take now will determine the extent to which we are able to minimize the impact of this disaster. It is time to constantly strengthen our resolve. It is time to exercise caution at every step. You have to remember that Jaan hai toh Jahaan hai.
This is the time for patience and discipline. Until the lockdown situation remains, we must keep our resolve, we must keep our promise. It is my plea to you, that while you are staying at home, you must remember and pray for the wellbeing of all those people who are performing their duties, who are exposing themselves to great risk. Think about the doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, pathologists who are working day and night in hospitals to save each and every life. Think about the hospital administration staff, ambulance drivers, ward boys, sanitation workers who are serving others in these difficult conditions. Pray for those people who are working to sanitize your society, your locality, your streets, and public places to ensure that this virus is eradicated completely. Think about the media persons as well who are working round the clock and risking infection while reporting from the streets and hospitals. Think about the Police force around you, who are working relentlessly without worrying about the welfare of their families. They are working day and night to protect you, and on several occasions, also bear the wrath of the public.
Even amidst the conditions created by the Corona global pandemic, the Central and State Governments are working swiftly. We are constantly striving to ensure that citizen do not face too much inconvenience in their daily life. We have made provisions to ensure that supply of all essential items continues smoothly.
This crisis has especially brought on a very difficult time for the poor. Along with the Central and State Governments, social organisations and people from civil society are continuously striving to reduce the problems of the poor. Several people are coming together in their efforts to help the poor.
In addition to the basic necessities, lifesaving necessities have to be given top most priority. In tackling this new pandemic, the Central Government is constantly working towards better equipping the healthcare facilities of the country. The Government has been taking decisions on the advice of the World Health Organization and our country’s top medical and research organizations and health experts.
Today, the Central Government has provisioned 15 thousand crore rupees for treating Coronavirus patients and strengthening the medical infrastructure of the country. This will allow for rapidly ramping up the number of Corona testing facilities, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Isolation Beds, ICU beds, Ventilators and other essential equipment. Simultaneously, training of medical and paramedical manpower will also be undertaken. I have requested the State Governments to ensure that only healthcare is treated as their first and topmost priority at the moment.
I am pleased that the private sector is standing shoulder to shoulder with fellow citizens in full capacity during this crucial time. Private labs and hospitals are coming forward to work with the Government during these challenging times.
But, friends, we must also be careful that during such times, knowingly or unknowingly, several rumors circulate. I appeal to you to beware of any kind of rumors or superstitions.
It is extremely important for you to abide by the instructions and advice given by the Central and State Governments and the medical fraternity. I request you not to take any medication without consulting doctors, in case you show any symptoms of this infection. Any sort of medical experimentation can put your life at risk.
Friends, I am confident that every Indian will abide by the instructions of the Government and local authorities at this crucial hour. 21 days of lockdown is a long time, but it is essential for your safety and that of your family. I am confident that every Indian will not only combat this difficult situation successfully, but also emerge victorious.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones.
(Release ID: 1607995)
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