Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the country on 24th March at 8 pm through the press to share his insights on the coronavirus outbreak. The speech focused on uncovering the preventive and combating measures taken by the Indian government and to declare a total lockdown of three weeks (21 days) starting midnight.
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Here are the key takeaways from the speech:
- The PM announced a complete lockdown starting 24th midnight till the 14th of April in order to combat the fast spread of the pandemic. Although, various state governments had already taken proactive measures to prevent and control the spread by announcing a lockdown till the 31st of March which has now been extended till April 14th.
- The PM declared a fund allocation of Rs 15,000 crore for healthcare services in light of the novel coronavirus outbreak. The funds will be utilized in training the paramedics, building coronavirus test centres and dedicated hospitals, procuring coronavirus testing kits and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- The constitution of a dedicated body, the COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force, was also announced to monitor the proceedings on the combat techniques and provide necessary economic support as and when required. This body will work under the Finance Ministry of India.
- Essential services including medicare, food, banking and insurance among others to remain open for the convenience of the general public. Since IRDAI has announced a simpler settlement procedure for COVID-19 claim cases, the health insurance industry is fully operational for customer assistance.
- The PM urged the nation to cooperate and encourage the paramedics and supporting staff in fighting the pandemic who had previously complained regarding verbal abuse from the patients and their relatives.
- He stressed upon ‘Social Distancing’ and to refrain from unessential movement. He asked people to exercise restrain and stay at home in order to keep safe and healthy during these difficult times.
- The PM, in his speech, assured the citizens that there will be no scarcity of essential goods like water, milk, bread, vegetables, flour, and grains. He requested people not to start stocking commodities and create unnecessary shortages and panic.
- The PM also requested elderly people to strictly stay at home since the pandemic is more fatal for them due to underlying diseases that are causing loss of immunity and unmanageable condition.
- He reassured the nation of consistent efforts by the government and thanked the medical services for their heroic efforts in these desperate times.
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So far, the highest frequency of cases has been found in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The spread of coronavirus in Mumbai has brought the film city, production houses, corporate offices, head offices of several banks and financial institutions to a halt. Mumbai, being the heart of the nation, is highly frequented by foreigners making it more vulnerable. It is the duty of every citizen to abide by the Prime Minister’s appeal and help fight this pandemic.