May 27, 2024

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Covid-19: PM Narendra Modi extends world’s biggest lockdown till May 3

A nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic will be extended till May 3, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday as the number of people suffering from the disease in India touched 10,453 and deaths topped 358, according to worldometer.

“In view of all suggestions, it has been decided that the nationwide lockdown would be extended until May 3. This means we all will have to stay indoors, in a lockdown, until May 3 — with the same discipline and resolve we have shown so far.,” said Modi in a televised address to the nation at 10 am.

In his address, the PM said that we will have to keep an eye on newer hotspots and take stringent measures to curb the spread.

“In the next few days, you will see more strict actions to contain the damage. Till April 20, there will be a careful survey and evaluation to see how each region has fared in stopping the spread. Those areas that show remarkable improvement in terms of not allowing new hotspots to be created will see some relaxation in lockdown rules after April 20. However, if we see any carelessness or dangers afterwards, these relaxations would be revoked. A detailed list of guidelines on this will be issued by the government soon,” PM Modi warned.

“These steps are being proposed in view of the economic needs of the poor, who rely on the wages they earn on a daily basis. These poor and daily-wage workers indeed are my family. They and the mitigation of their problems are my priority. Their welfare has been kept in mind while drafting the new guidelines. Rabi harvest is on these days; and the welfare of farmers must be kept in mind. Global experience tells us that when the number of cases reaches 10,000, 1500-1600 hospital beds are required. But in India we have made available as many as 100,000 beds,” he added.

India had adequate supplies of essential medicines and the central government was taking measures to ensure protective gear and critical equipment were made available for all frontline workers, Modi had told chief ministers in a video meeting on Saturday, according to a statement.

The next three-to-four weeks would be critical for determining the impact of the steps taken to contain the virus, and there seemed to be a consensus on an extension of lockdown by another two weeks, he had said, according to the statement.

Here is what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to the nation:

“We are well aware of the situation because of the coronavirus pandemic in the world. When the entire world is facing the fury of coronavirus, we in India acted in time. Even when there was not even a Covid-19 single case in India, we had started screening those coming from abroad. When we had about 550 cases, we took the big step of imposing a 21-day nationwide lockdown. All through this turmoil, we have acted in time and taken steps before issues become big. If we look at other very developed countries and the Covid-19 turmoil they are facing, we are very comfortably placed in relative terms. In those countries, thousands people have sadly died.

What would have happened if India had not adopted a holistic and integrated approach? The very thought gives me goosebumps. The approach we have adopted, i am certain, is the best approach. Social distancing and lockdown have gone a long distance in containing the spread. True, we have had to pay a huge price economically, but that price is little to pay when compared with the value of so many lives. If is but natural that the world is looking to India in view of the way we have tackled the crisis with limited resources. In spite of all these, the way coronavirus is spreading across the world, government and authorities are on their toes globally.”

The PM also made a seven-point appeal in his address and sought people’s support:

  • I appeal to you that you care more especially for the aged in your family. They should be protected from coronavirus infection.

  • Secondly, keep your faces covered, wear masks, etc.

  • Thirdly, to strengthen your immunity, follow the advice of the AYUSH ministry.

  • Fourthly, to track the spread of the virus, download the Arogya Setu app and inspires other also.

  • Fifthly, as much as possible, take care of the economically weaker sections.

  • Sixthly, be sensitive as an employer towards your employees.

  • Seventhly, have a great regard for the corona warriors of this country who are at the frontlines of our fight against the virus.

Even before a formal announcement of the nationwide lockdown extension, 11 states and Union Territories had already announced extension of the lockdown till April 30. These were Delhi, Maharashtra, Telangana, Punjab, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Pudduchery and Mizoram.

India’s economy, which was already growing at its slowest pace in six years before the coronavirus outbreak, is set to take a severe hit because of the lockdown, say economists, warning that unemployment in the country could rise to record levels.

The ‘world’s biggest lockdown’ as the initial 21-day lockdown has been referred to, may have cost the Indian economy a whopping Rs 8 trillion already, according to a report.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus outbreak: A 21-day lockdown may have cost India Rs 8 trillion

The lockdown resulted in many thousands of daily-wage labourers losing their jobs in cities and leaving to return to their homes, raising the risk of the spread of coronavirus in the countryside. Their exodus even prompted PM Modi to apologise to the public in one of his Mann Ki Baat broadcasts.

ALSO READ: Sorry, but hard decisions needed: PM Modi on coronavirus lockdown

The 21-day lockdown was preceded by a one-day janata curfew on March 22. In a video address on March 19, the PM had announced a voluntary janata curfew where members of the public were urged to voluntarily stay indoors.

ALSO READ: Janata curfew, economic task force: Modi scales up coronavirus fight

This was followed by the announcement of a total lockdown for 21 days starting March 24. This led to shutting down of all offices, educational institutions, factories, etc, for 21 days.

ALSO READ: PM Modi announces nationwide 21-day lockdown, appeals for social distancing