“Whatever I have asked of you till now, you have never disappointed me. We have been together and moved forward and that journey has been successful also. Today, I am going to ask all 130 crore of you for some time,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening, as he appealed to everyone to take a pledge to stay healthy and to keep others around them healthy. He further announced that March 22 will be observed as ‘Janata Curfew’, where no citizen except those involved in essential services will step out of their homes between 7 am and 9 pm.
The Prime Minister also asked everyone to self quarantine as much as possible to fight the coronavirus pandemic. “For the next few weeks, please step out of your homes only if absolutely necessary,” the Prime Minister said, asking everyone to self quarantine themselves and practice social distancing.
“For the last two months, lakhs of people are in hospitals, airports etc working day and night. Doctors, nurses, housekeeping staff, police, mediapersons etc have been working for the country on a war footing. In today’s situation, these services cannot be provided easily. On Sunday, at 5 pm, let’s all thank them by clapping from our doors or windows,” the PM said.
Stressing that while it’s important for government employees, doctors, and journalists to be out to do their jobs, everyone else must not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary. Further, he said that people who are older should not step out of their homes at all.
The Prime Minister said that resolve and restraint were the need of the hour to tackle the virus outbreak. He requested citizens in coming weeks to step out of the home only if absolutely necessary. He asked people to work from home, as much as possible.
Further, the PM asked the people in the country to be humane in terms of the salaries paid to their employees, including domestic workers, and to ensure that they are not affected economically.
“I assure that milk, edibles, medicines will be available in the country. These supplies will not be stopped. I request you all not to hoard. Buy things as you did before. Panic buying is not right, don’t do it,” the PM said.
Stating that the government was keeping a track of the trajectory of the rise in number of cases worldwide, he said, “We have to be determined not to get infected ourselves and save others from getting affected. In this time, only one mantra works, ‘If we ourselves are safe, then we can keep the world around us safe.'”
“Even World War 1 and World War 2 did not affect as many countries as the coronavirus has done now,” PM Modi said.
“Please keep away from going to hospitals for routine check-ups. Please cancel elective surgeries for now, reschedule them,” the PM said.
As of Thursday, India has reported 185 coronavirus positive cases. The Centre asked state governments across the country to issue directions to citizens above 65 and children below 10 to remain at home. A Press Information Bureau release also said that state governments are to enforce work from home for private sector employees.