New Delhi: The Prime Minister on Tuesday announced that the lockdown period in the country has been extended till May 3. This announcement came on the last day of the 21-day lockdown announced by him earlier.
In his address to the nation on Tuesday, PM said that India’s fight against the Corona global pandemic is moving ahead with great strength and steadfastness. It is only because of people’s restraint, penance and sacrifice that India has so far been able to avert the harm caused by corona to a large extent. He said that long before the country had even a single case of Corona, screening of travelers coming in from Corona affected countries were started at airports. Much before the number of Corona patients reached 100, India had made 14-day isolation mandatory for all those coming in from abroad.
“When we had only 550 Corona cases, then itself India had taken the big step of a 21-day complete lockdown. India did not wait for the problem to aggravate,” he said adding, “If we look at Corona-related figures in the world’s big, powerful countries, India today is in a very well-managed position. A month, month and a half ago, several countries had been at par with India in terms of Corona infection. But today, Corona cases in those countries are 25 to 30 times than that of India. It is clearly evident from the experience of the past few days, that we have chosen the correct path”.
“I have been in continuous touch with the States on how the fight against Corona should progress in India. Everyone has suggested that the lockdown should be continued. Many States have in fact already decided and declared to continue the lockdown,” said the PM adding that keeping all the suggestions in mind, it has been decided that the lockdown in India will have to be extended till May 3.
“We have to be very vigilant about hot-spots. We will have to keep a close and strict watch on the places which run the risk of becoming hot-spots. The creation of new hot-spots will further challenge our hard work and penance. Hence, let us extend the strictness and austerity in the fight against Corona for the upcoming one week,” said the PM adding that until 20th April, every town, every police station, every district, every state will be evaluated on how much the lockdown is being followed. The extent to which the region has protected itself from Coronavirus will be noted.
He said that areas that will succeed in this litmus test, which will not be in the hot-spot category, and will have less likelihood to turn into a hot-spot; maybe allowed to open up select necessary activities from 20thApril. However, this permission will be conditional, and the rules for going out will be very strict. Permission will be withdrawn immediately if lockdown rules are broken, and spread of Coronavirus risked. A detailed guideline will be issued by the Government on Wednesday in this regard.
PM said that the provision of this limited exemption in these identified areas after 20thApril has been done keeping in mind the livelihood of poor people, who make ends meet with daily income. The government has made every possible effort to help them through Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojna. Their interests have also been taken care of while making the new guidelines. These days, the harvesting of the Rabi crop is also in progress. The Central and State governments are working together to minimize the problems of the farmers.The country has ample reserves of medicines, food-ration and other essential goods; and supply chain constraints are continuously being removed.
“We are making rapid progress in ramping up health infrastructure as well. From having only one testing lab for Coronavirus in January, we now have more than 220 functional testing labs,” said the PM adding that global experience shows that 1,500-1,600 beds are required for every 10,000 patients. In India, we have arranged more than 1 Lakh beds today. Not only this, there are more than 600 hospitals which are dedicated for Covid treatment. These facilities are being increased even more rapidly.
PM also urged India’s young scientists to come forward and take a lead in creating a vaccine for Coronavirus for the welfare of the world, for the welfare of the human race. “If we continue to be patient and follow rules, we will be able to defeat even a pandemic like Corona. With this faith and trust, I seek your support for 7 things in the end,” he said enlisting the seven things that include special care of the elderly, completely adherence to the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of Lockdown and Social Distancing, following the instructions issued by AYUSH ministry to enhance immunity, downloading of Arogya Setu Mobile App, caring of poor families, not depriving people of their livelihood, and paying utmost respect to nation’s Corona Warriors.