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Aim is to win the war against COVID-19 in 21 days: Modi

Difficult times:Migrant labourers waiting in a queue to collect food packets being delivered by volunteers during the lockdown in Chennai on Wednesday.R. Ragu

Difficult times:Migrant labourers waiting in a queue to collect food packets being delivered by volunteers during the lockdown in Chennai on Wednesday.R. Ragu  

PM urges citizens to back healthcare professionals working through lockdown

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.”

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 618, with 562 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.

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.

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