Social Distance is the new buzzword. Urging people to keep social distancing to reduce the impact of coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday called the people to observe “Janata Curfew” on March 22 – Sunday– from 7 AM to 9 PM by staying inside the home, barring those in the essential services sector. Prime Minister asked the people to come out to the balconies at 5 PM during siren horn to thank those working on Sunday from the essential services sector. In his 30-minutes-long television address, Modi reiterated that there is no need to panic for buying commodities and said that senior citizens especially must stay at home. He asked people not to hoard any item like medicines or food or essential commodities and also avoid hospital visits related to routine checkups.
In his speech, at the outset, Modi said that the COVID-2019 pandemic has affected more countries than during the World Wars. Giving the example of a ‘blackout’ during times of war, Modi appealed to people to exercise caution regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic and said that citizens over 60-65 years must not step out of their homes.
“People should observe ‘Janata curfew’. Which means it is a curfew imposed on people, by themselves, for themselves. Avoid traveling out of the house unless it is essential to travel. On Sunday, while you are observing the ‘Janata curfew’, at 5 PM, for five minutes, we must stand outside our houses or on our balconies and clap for those in essential jobs working for us during this pandemic,” Modi said praising the services of professionals like doctors, nurses, medical staff, police, media, and others.
“I request the countrymen to avoid visiting hospitals for routine check-ups. If you have an appointment for any non-essential surgery, please postpone it for one month. We should keep in mind that pressure should not come to hospitals. Postpone elective surgeries by a month, avoid routine check-ups to ease pressure on health services,” Prime Minister Modi said.
Urging people to give their time for a few weeks, Modi said every citizen should make aware of others about the Corona pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that while world powers are struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, developing countries like India will find it a big challenge to tackle and curb the infections. “You might think that you are fine and you will continue to roam around, but that is not right according to me. You have a responsibility to your fellow citizens to take care,” he said.
Modi also strongly advocated the measure of social distancing and advised staying away from crowds. He also said that companies must allow employees to work from home. “For the last 2 months, millions are working day and night in hospitals and airports and those serving others by not taking care of themselves. On 22 March, at 5 PM, we should stand on our doorways, balconies, in our windows and keep clapping hands and ringing the bells for 5 mins to salute and encourage them.”
Modi said that “resolution and restraint” were the most important principles in fighting the novel coronavirus pandemic. “Resolution and restraint is very important in combat against this global epidemic. As citizens, people need to strengthen their resolve to follow the advisories issued by state and central governments to fight,” he said. Restrain is compulsory to protect ourselves and remain healthy. I request that for the coming weeks’ people should go out of their homes only if essential.
The coronavirus pandemic has also affected economies across the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, adding that the Centre has constituted a ‘COVID-19 economic task force’ which will take decisions regarding the economy in the duration of fighting the pandemic.
“The government has decided to constitute a COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force under Finance Minister. The task force will remain in regular touch with all stakeholders, take their feedback and make decisions accordingly,” he said.
He also appealed to people to give those in service like domestic helps to take days off, and also not cut their pay if they are not able to come to work.
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