Prime Minister Modi addressed the nation on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, 19 March. In his speech, he emphasised the need to exercise restraint and to show resolve in fighting the global pandemic. He urged citizens to refrain from panic and complacency at this time. He also put forth a new ‘Janta Curfew’ advisory, requesting all citizens to go into self-isolation for one day on Sunday, 22 March. Essential and emergency services are exempt.
Here’s what you need to know:
• Sunday, 22 March to be observed as ‘Janta Curfew’ from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. All citizens are strongly advised to stay at home during these hours unless there is an emergency.
• Only those citizens who are part of the essential services are urged to step out. This includes medical professionals and support staff, and media personnel.
• Senior citizens (above the age of 60) are specifically advised to remain indoors for the next two weeks. It is stressed that they do not treat this advisory lightly.
• Those who are suffering from a mild cold or cough are advised not to throng hospitals to get tested. It is recommended that you call your medical professional and seek help and go to the hospital only if the need arises.
• Measures have been taken to ensure that there is no disruption to the supply of essential commodities like milk, food, and medicines. Therefore, citizens are strongly advised not to hoard any of these items.
• At this time, potential patients are advised to avoid going into hospitals for any regular check-ups and to postpone any non-critical surgeries.
• Citizens are also urged to refrain from deducting money or issuing any salary cuts to daily wage labourers, house helps, and drivers who may not come to work for the next two weeks.
• The Prime Minister also announced the setting up of the COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force to combat the economic crisis as a result of this pandemic.
(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)