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Don't Hoard Essential Items, PM Modi Urges Citizens in His Address on Coronavirus

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

PM Narendra Modi asked citizens to remain sensitive to the needs of others as he urged them not to panic-buy things.

New Delhi: There has been a complete lockdown in Italy in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. The panic of similar circumstances has spread among Indians and fearing a lockdown, many have started to stock up on essential goods. While the scramble in western nations is for toilet paper and sanitiser, Indians have been rushing to grocery stores.

In his address to the nation on Thursday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged citizens to not stock up on essential items.

“Don’t hoard essentials. Stop panic buying. Be sensitive towards others’ needs,” he said, adding that these steps are being taken to ensure there is no shortage of essential commodities.

Ahead of his speech, there was apprehension that the country might be heading to a lockdown and people started buying groceries and other essential items. Social media was abuzz with stories on how people bought everything they could lay their hands on. Local groceries saw a rush of people who were panic-purchasing essential items.

Minutes after Modi's speech, Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha said, “The Prime Minister’s request to all to stop hoarding of essential commodities is welcome. This will allay apprehensions.”

Modi impressed upon all Indians the need to follow the practice of social distancing and only step out of the house only if necessary as he spoke of measures to combat the pandemic. For the last two months, millions of people have been working in the health sector and at airports to serve others, he said. "They are not taking care of themselves. So on March 22, at 5pm, people should stand on their doorways, balconies and in our windows and clap for five minutes to salute and encourage them," he said.

The outbreak has claimed four lives across the country so far and infected 173 people, according to the health ministry.