Indian PM Narendra Modi announces 21-day lockdown to curb spread of coronavirus

make in india pm narendra modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the inauguration ceremony of the 'Make In India' week in Mumbai, 13 February 2016 Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his second address to the nation after the coronavirus pandemic, announced a complete lockdown of the country for 21 days. The lockdown is a curfew and more stringent than the "people's curfew" observed across the country on March 22. That descended into a farce in some parts of the country with people gathering on the streets to bang pots and pans, instead of maintaining social distance.

In his lengthy speech, Modi said: ''Forget what it means to go out for 21 days. Stay at home. It is for all Indians, every family and even for the prime minister. The laxity of certain people will jeopardize the entire country - including you, your parents, friends.''

Stay at home

Modi repeatedly asked citizens to stay indoors for 21 days for the safety of themselves and their family and explained how fast the virus can spread without anyone's knowledge. He said: ''Infected people often seem fine at first but they can infect hundreds within days.''

''The World Health Organisation says one infected person can infect hundreds within weeks. It spreads like fire. It took 67 days to reach 100,000 cases globally. After that in only 11 days, another 100,000. From 200,000 to 300,000 it took four days. You can now understand how fast it spreads. And it becomes difficult to stop the spread.''

What other countries are doing

Modi stressed on the fact that even superpowers and developed countries like the United States, Germany, France and Italy, having the best medical facilities in the world are struggling to contain the virus and their hospitals are full of Covid-19 patients adding to the strain on doctors, nurses, paramedical staff and others.

''Countries like the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany, France are scrambling to contain the virus. Be it Italy or US, they have the best healthcare in the world. Despite that these countries couldn't stop the impact. However, hope comes from countries that have been able to contain it to some extent. For weeks, people in these countries stayed home and followed the rules of their governments.''

'Let's break the chain of Covid-19'

Modi asked people to come together to break the chain of the virus by staying indoors. ''To break the chain of spread, 21 days of lockdown is absolutely necessary. If we don't manage these 21 days, the country will be set back by 21 years. Some families will be destroyed for ever.''

Related topics : Coronavirus