On Thursday, even as the number of deaths due to coronavirus rose to four in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to the stage to address the nation during the pandemic. With the total number of infected patients growing over 170, many expected the PM to announce a complete lockdown as has been done in several other countries with high COVID-19 cases.
However, what the PM did indeed announce was not a total lockdown but instead called for a "Janta Curfew" on Sunday, March 22, to preach self-isolation.
PM Modi also asked Indians to come out to their rooftops, balconies, and doorways at 5 pm on Sunday to clap for 5 minutes as a mark of respect for the Indian medical forces and frontline health workers.
He also asked the viewers to tell "at least 10 people" about the Janata Curfew and to not panic buy and hoard commodities, among other things.
Bits of the speech went viral on social media with many making jokes about feeling like contestants while the PM was Bigg Boss.
He's putting us in isolation and giving us weird tasks. Modiji is the new Bigg Boss. — Karan Talwar (@BollywoodGandu) March 19, 2020
I agree with everything the PM said. It's a good speech. Share its message widely! And spending a sunday like I've pretty much spent every single sunday....ain't that bad. I'll even do the Italian thing at 5pm 🙂 — Vir Das (@thevirdas) March 19, 2020
Your new office friends while working from home: Sankalp and Saiyyam — Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) March 19, 2020
Indians who have already read the cure of Coronavirus on Whatsapp watching PM Narendra Modi’s speech pic.twitter.com/F42sjmPi0N — bunny (@Bunny_I_) March 19, 2020
Bigg Boss chahte ki aap self-isolation mein aayein — Trendulkar (@Trendulkar) March 19, 2020
Bhartiya Janta don't Party — Pranav Sapra (@pranavsapra) March 19, 2020
Friend calls me after ages Me : achanak se kaise yaad kiya? Friend : pic.twitter.com/2O2Oxop2Pz — Pakchikpak Raja Babu (@HaramiParindey) March 19, 2020
Nevertheless, the encouragement for social distancing won PM Modi applause from fans and critics alike.
I welcome @PMOIndia @narendramodi ‘s call to solidarity at this challenging time. Will support #JanataCurfew while conscious that Sunday is the easiest day to try it. Need more reinforcement of social distancing (incl suspending Parliament) & specific economic relief measures — Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) March 19, 2020
Be alert, attentive and aware to combat the threat posed by the Covid 19. We, as responsible citizens, need to adhere to the norms put in place for our safety as announced by our Honourable Prime Minister Shri @NarendraModi ji. #IndiaFightsCorona — Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) March 19, 2020
Super speech Modiji ❤️🙏 Touched all the right points! — Atul Khatri (@one_by_two) March 19, 2020