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Stress on Social Distancing, 21-day Lockdown to Combat Coronavirus: Read PM Modi's Full Speech Here

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a total lockdown for 21 days across the nation amid coronavirus fears, while also stressing on the need for social distancing.

Namaskar. My dear countrymen,

I have once again come to talk to you about the pandemic of Corona. We had taken a pledge of Janta curfew on 22 March, which we as a nation fulfilled with the responsible contribution of each Indian. Children, senior citizens, small and big , poor, middle and upper class , each one came together in this hour of crisis.

Janta curfew was made successful by each Indian. India, with this one day Janta Curfew, showed that when the country and humanity is faced with a crisis, all Indians come together to combat it. You all need to be admired for the Janta curfew.

You are hearing and watching the worldwide situation arising from the Corona pandemic, in the news. You are also seeing how the most empowered nations have become helpless in the face of this pandemic. It’s not that these nations are not making efforts or lack resources.

But the Corona virus is spreading so rapidly, that despite all their efforts the challenge is increasing. The result of a two month study of these countries , and what the experts are saying, is that SOCIAL DISTANCING is the only option to combat Corona.

That is to remain apart from each other and stay confined to your homes. There is no other way to remain safe from Corona. If we have to stop the spread of Corona, we have to break the cycle of infection.

Some people are under the misconception that social distancing is only for people suffering from Covid-19. This is not right. Social distancing is for every citizen, every family and for every member of the family.

This irresponsible attitude of few, can risk the lives of your children, your parents, your family, your friends and the entire nation. It is impossible to fathom the cost that India may have to pay, if such irresponsible behavior continues.

Since past two days, many parts of the country have been locked down. These initiatives of the state governments have to be taken very seriously.

Learning from experiences of health experts and other countries the nation is going to take a very important decision today. From 12 midnight today, please listen carefully, from 12 midnight today, the entire country will go under a complete lockdown.

To save India and every Indian there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes. Every state, every Union Territory, every district, every village and every locality is being put under a lockdown.

This is in effect a type of curfew. Beyond Janta Curfew, more stringent than Janta Curfew. This is an essential step in this decisive battle against the Corona pandemic.

No doubt, this lockdown will entail an economic cost for the country. But saving the life of each and every Indian is the first priority for me, Government of India, State Government and the local administration.

Therefore I request you to remain wherever you are in this country. In view of the current situation, the lockdown shall be enforced for 21 days. Which means, the next 21 days are crucial for us.

As per health experts, a minimum of 21 days is most crucial to break the cycle of infection. If we are not able to manage this pandemic in the next 21 days, the country and your family will be setback by 21 years. If we are not able to manage the next 21 days, then many families will be destroyed for ever.

Therefore for a few days, forget about venturing out. Stay at your home and do just one thing, stay at your home.

Friends, today’s decision of nationwide lockdown has essentially drawn a “Laxman Rekha” on your doors. You must remember that you will invite grave pandemic like Coronavirus to your homes if you step out.

You must remember that friends, neighbours and relatives who you meet daily can be potential carriers of Corona virus. You must remember that initially people affected with Corona virus seem healthy and would not be aware that they have contracted it.

Therefore take precaution, stay in your homes. Some of you at home are very innovatively sharing this message on social media. I liked a banner which I want to share with you co-ro-na…...koi road per na nikale.

Friends, experts have said that if today one acquires Corona virus it may take many, many days for it to exhibit its signs. Meanwhile, unknowingly it gets transmitted to all others who come in his contact.

World Health Organisation Report says that one person affected with this pandemic can infect hundreds other in a matter of a week to 10 days. Which means it spreads like wildfire.

Another statistic of World Health Organisation is also very important. Friends, It took 67 days for the number of Coronavirus affected persons to reach 1 Lakh in the world. After that additional one Lakh got infected in a matter of 11 days.

Just imagine, the initial one Lakh infections in 67 days while the additional one Lakh infections in a matter of 11 days!

What is frightening is that it just took four days for the Corona virus infected case figure reach 3 Lakh. You can estimate how fast Corona virus can spread, and when it starts spreading, it is very difficult to stop it.

Friends, This is the reason why situation went out of control in countries like China, USA, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Iran. And remember, health services in Italy and USA are considered one of the best in the world. In spite of that, these countries couldn't mitigate the impact of coronavirus.

The question is... is there a ray of hope amongst all this? What is the solution, what is the alternative? Friends, the ray of hope comes from those countries which have been able to control coronavirus to an extent.

Citizens of these countries didn't move out of their homes for weeks together, the citizens in these countries followed government directions to the word and that is why they are moving towards coming out of this pandemic.

We should also believe that this is the only way forward - we should not move out of homes. No matter what, we should stay at home. The only way we save ourselves from coronavirus is if we don't cross boundaries of our home. Whatever happens, we stay home. The only way to protect us from coronavirus is not to the cross the Lakshman rekha of our homes.

We have to stop the spread of this virus, we need to break the chain of its transmission. Friends, India is at such a stage, our actions today will determine our ability to reduce the impact of this disaster. It's time to strengthen our resolve again and again. It's time to show patience at every step.

Remember when there is life there is hope. It is the time for patience and discipline. As long as there is a lockdown in the country we have to stand by our resolve and promise.

I appeal to you that while staying at home, remember and pray for the people who are putting their lives at risk in the line of duty. Remember the doctors, the nurses, paramedics, pathologists who are working day and night in hospitals. Think of hospital administration, ambulance drivers, ward boys, sanitation workers who are serving others in these testing times.

Please pray for those who are working to sanitize your societies, your neighbourhoods, roads and public places to ensure complete eradication of the virus.
You must also think about the media persons who are working 24 hours to give you correct information and are being exposed to the danger of the pandemic in streets and hospitals.

You must also think about the police personnel who without worrying about their families are working day and night to save you and also facing the anger of some people.

States and Centre are working fast in the situation arising from the corona pandemic. We are making efforts that there is no difficulty in daily life. We are taking all steps to ensure continuous essential supplies.

It is a fact that this unfortunate phase has brought lot of difficulties to the poor people. The Central Government, State Governments, social organizations and civil society are working to reduce the difficulties of the poor people. A number of people are coming forward to help them.

Friends, we are making efforts to not only give priority to what is required for daily life, but also what is required for protecting life. The government has taken decisions on the advice and suggestions of WHO, the medical and scientific Institutes and health experts.

Now the Central government has made an allocation of 15,000 crore rupees for strengthening the nation’s health infrastructure for treatment of coronavirus patients. Using the fund we will be able to increase the number of testing facilities, personal protection equipment, Isolation wards, ICU beds, ventilators and other essential equipment. Along with this training of medical and paramedical manpower will also be done.

I have urged the state governments that at this time their first priority should be only and only health services. I am happy that the private sector is also working shoulder to shoulder and standing with the people of this country in this time of crisis and pandemic.

Private hospitals and private labs are coming forward to work with the government in these challenging times.

But friends, you should also be cautious, as knowingly or unknowingly many times rumours are also spread. I appeal to you to not believe in such rumours and superstitions.

It is necessary that the suggestions and directions given by the Central government, State government and medical fraternity is followed.

I pray to all of you that if you suffer from any symptoms of this disease, please do not take any medicine, without taking prescription from doctors. Any such carelessness, can put your life in more danger.

Friends, I am confident that every citizen in this time of crisis will follow the directions of the government and local administration.

Twenty one days of Lockdown is a long time, but this is important for your safety , and for safety of your family. I am confident that India will not only successfully tackle this challenge but also emerge victorious over this time of crisis.

Take care of Yourself and take care of your near and dear ones. Jai Hind!
first published:March 24, 2020, 22:03 IST