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As COVID-19 toll touches 10, PM announces 21-day lockdown

Govt. allots Rs. 15,000 crore to beef up infrastructure for treatment of patients

As the death toll from COVID-19 rose to 10, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a 21-day lockdown for the entire country, stating that it was the only way for the country to break the chain of infection. The lockdown will be in effect till April 14.

In a nationwide television broadcast, Mr. Modi said the pandemic was a huge challenge to every country and even countries like the U.S. and Italy, considered to have good health infrastructure, were struggling to control the situation.

“In such a situation we have learnt from the experience of the countries that have managed to get some control over the surge in cases, and these show that a lockdown for a sustained period of time is the only way to break the chain of infection,” he said.

India on Tuesday recorded 564 positive cases, with the number of positive patients in Kerala and Maharahstra crossing 100.

Stating that it was the priority of both the Centre and State governments to set up health infrastructure as fast as possible to deal with the pandemic, Mr. Modi said the government had allotted Rs. 15,000 crore for the purchase of Personnel Protection Equipment for healthcare workers, setting up testing laboratories and quarantine centres.

“Draw a Laxman Rekha outside your house door and do not step outside of it. Stay where you are. This will be the decisive battle against coronavirus,” he said.

Sounding a note of caution, he said: “If we are not able to adhere to this lockdown sincerely for 21 days, believe me, India will go back 21 years.

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