Coronavirus | Aim is to win the war against COVID-19 in 21 days, says Narendra Modi

Migrant labourers waiting in a queue to collect food packets being delivered by volunteers during the lockdown in Chennai on March 25, 2020.   | Photo Credit: R. Raghu

The country is fighting a war against the novel coronavirus and the aim is to win it in 21 days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday, a day after he announced a national lockdown of three weeks to combat the pandemic.

Interacting with people in his Lok Sabha constituency Varanasi through videoconference, Mr. Modi said: “The Mahabharata war was won in 18 days, this war the whole country is fighting against coronavirus will take 21 days.”

Interactive map of confirmed coronavirus cases in India

As the total count of COVID-19 cases in India touched 606 on Wednesday, the Centre said there was still no proof of “community transmission”. With one more death on Wednesday, the virus has claimed 10 lives, according to the Union Health Ministry.

Data from the States, however, put the total number of positive cases at 624, with 568 active ones. Thirteen people have died so far.

The Prime Minister urged citizens to support healthcare professionals and others who are working through the lockdown. He said he was pained to hear of incidents of discrimination and harassment faced by airline staff who helped rescue COVID-19 patients, and doctors and nurses tending to such people.

Watch | COVID-19: Dos and don'ts from the Health Ministry

The PM also announced that the Centre has tied up with WhatsApp to create a helpdesk for providing credible information on coronavirus. The number is 9013151515.

Strict action

Such acts would “prove costly” to the offenders, he warned, adding: “I have told the Home Ministry and DGPs to take strict action against those who are not supporting or not co-operating with doctors, nurses and other professionals who are serving us in this critical time.”

Advance salary

Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that the State would pay salary until the month of July in advance to all its healthcare professionals in April.

‘Pained’ by harassment of doctors

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said he had instructed the police chiefs of different States to take strict action against those who ill-treat or don’t co-operate with doctors, nurses and other professionals who are providing vital services in the fight against COVID-19.

Read | Doctors denied houses on rent in Warangal due to virus scare

Mr. Modi was responding to a question by a Varanasi resident during a videoconference with people of his Lok Sabha constituency.

When asked about the incidents of discrimination and harassment faced by the staff members of airlines who helped to rescue COVID-19 patients and doctors and nurses tending to such people, the Prime Minister said he was pained by such reports. Such acts would “prove costly” to the offenders, he warned.

‘Form of god’

Mr. Modi said that if people noticed such incidents of ill-treatment of doctors, nurses or ‘safai karamcharis’, they should point it out and warn the offenders. Nurses and doctors working in white uniform against COVID-19 “are a form of god,” he said.

To another question on reports of people resorting to self-diagnosis, Mr. Modi warned the public not to try to get COVID-19 treated on their own. “Stay at home and act as per doctor’s advice,” he stressed. “First, consult your doctor,” he said.

If the Mahabharata war was won in 18 days, the battle against coronavirus that the whole country is fighting would take 21 days, the Prime Minister said. “Our attempt is to win it in 21 days,” he said. His constituency, Varanasi, could teach the country patience, coordination and sensitivity, support, peace and tolerance during the lockdown.

Mr. Modi also asked people, especially those capable, to take care of nine poor families for 21 days as part of Navratri, as well as the animals, that could not fend for themselves due to the shutdown of services and transport. This was his reply to a question on the crisis faced by migrant labourers and the poor who were stranded in various cities without any means of support.

“This will be a true Navratri,” he said, asking the people to adopt ‘karuna’ (compassion) as another step to defeat corona [virus].

The Prime Minister also refuted ideas that people in India were adept at battling COVID-19 owing to factors such as the hot and humid weather and lifestyle. “The biggest truth coming out of this illness is that it doesn’t discriminate against anyone and ruins both the rich and the poor,” he said.

He asked the people not to rely on misinformation and continue to maintain physical distancing.

Full guidelines from Home Ministry on services that are to be available during 21-day lockdown

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses constituents of Varanasi via video link from New Delhi on March 25, 2020. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses constituents of Varanasi via video link from New Delhi on March 25, 2020. Photo: Twitter/@narendramodi  


(With inputs from PTI)

Excerpts from the PM’s address:

“As MP from Kashi I should have been there with you all, but you know how situation is in Delhi.

“In this hour of crisis, Kashi can lead the people, can teach the country patience, compassion and peace.

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“Social distancing, to be at home only way out, best option to deal with coronavirus.

“This disease doesn’t discriminate between rich and poor: PM.People should focus on how deadly this virus is.

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“Around 1 lakh people infected with coronavirus are recovering, this also needs to be highlighted.

“People in white in hospitals and clinics are our gods now; they should be respected: PM on misbehaviour with medics. PM slams those ostracising doctors, airline crew.

“We can fight coronavirus by also showing compassion towards the poor. Those who can should pledge to help 9 families for next 21 days; can’t be a bigger offering to gods during navratras.

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“We are facing challenges globally, difficulties will arise; we have to come out victorious.

“Don’t focus on mistakes during this crisis; more you support the administration, more successful will be our fight against the disease.

“We should encourage all the work done by those providing us essential services.

“Speak to your doctor before taking any medicine; there’s no medicine or vaccine for it as of now."

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 11:41:09 PM |

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