New Delhi, Mar 24: Making a strong pitch for social distancing as the only way to tackle the threat of Novel Coronavirus in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a 21-day lockdown of the entire country from midnight on Tuesday night.
Hailing the 'Janta Curfew' as an extremely successful exercise of self-isolation, which was carried out on March 22 , Mr Modi, in his second televised address to the nation, said, 'The nation is going to take a very important decision. Starting midnight, the whole country will be under complete lockdown, to save the citizens from the deadly virus. The lockdown will continue for 21 days.'
The Prime Minister also announced a 15,000 crore package for COVID-19, to acquire medical equipment and protective gear, and also increase training of medical and paramedical staff, testing facilities, PPEs, ICUs, and ventilators.
'The Centre has allotted Rs 15,000 crore to develop the country's healthcare and make it efficient enough to deal with the menace of Coronavirus,' he said.
He also asked the people not to venture out of their homes, in a bid to save this country from this pandemic that has claimed thousands of lives across the globe.
'This lockdown will be strictly imposed in every village and every lane. According to health experts, 21 days are necessary to break the cycle of COVID-19. If these 21 days are not observed as a lockdown, it will take us back 21 years,' the Prime Minister said.
'I urge you to forget the outside world for these 21 days. Forget every work, except the work of staying at home. With this order, we have drawn a 'Lakshman Rekha' around your house from now onwards,' he said.
Detailing the efforts taken to contain the spread of Novel Coronavirus across the world, Mr Modi said the precaution of social distancing is a tried and tested way of succeeding in curbing the pandemic.
'There is a misconception that social distancing is only for those who are sick. Social distancing is for everyone, even the Prime Minister! Some people are spreading false information, which will affect every single citizen of the country. And if all citizens are affected, the negative effects are unimaginable,' he said.
Terming the next 21 days as a crucial period for the control of Coronavirus, the Prime Minister said, 'If we are unable to manage the upcoming 21 days of nationwide lockdown, we will be pushed back by 21 years.
'One step out of your door, beyond the 'Lakshman Rekha', can bring in this deadly disease. We might have to pay a heavy price, if we are negligent.
'Corona means Koi Road Par Na nikle (nobody should go out on the roads),' he said. (UNI)