Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced complete lockdown across the country for the next 21 days as the total number of coronavirus cases in India increased to 519. Out of these, 469 are active cases, 39 have recovered and 10 have died, according to the health ministry data.
There will be a complete ban on people from stepping out of their homes, Modi said.
However, Modi did not announce any economic relief package, raising concerns about how poor people will survive if they are unable to work for 21 days. News reports have said that poor migrant labourers who have been trying to reach their homes have been harassed and beaten up by the police.
The Prime Minister also did not clearly outline how people could access groceries, medicines and other essential goods.
During a press briefing earlier, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced that the government is “very close to coming up with an economic package”.
Here are the highlights from Modi’s speech on Tuesday:
— “Experts are saying that social distancing is the only way to combat coronavirus. There is no other way to be safe from coronavirus.”
— “Learning from experience of health experts and other countries, the nation is going to take an important decision today.”
— “The entire country will go into lockdown from midnight. It will last for 21 days.”
— “The next 21 days are very crucial for us. If we are not able to manage the next 21 days, many families will be destroyed. Therefore, stay at home.”
— “A statistic of WHO is very important — It took 67 days for the number of coronavirus infected people to reach 1 lakh. Then it took just 11 days for this number to reach 2 lakh. What is frightening is that it took 4 days for this number to reach 3 lakh.”
— “The only way forward is to stay at home.”
— “Central government has made an allocation of Rs 15,000 crore to strengthen nation’s health infrastructure.”
— “Steps have been taken to ensure supply of essential commodities.”