Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday addressed the nation, amid the fear of the novel coronavirus that has affected 173 people in the country.
Terming it as a 'global catastrophe', PM Modi said that the world is going through a grave phase. "For the past two months, we have been preparing ourselves. 130 crore Indians have done their bit to fight their disease," PM Modi added.
Hailing the way the Indian diaspora has tackled the situation, PM Modi said that he had a request from the people of India. "We believe that we are safe. This isn't the situation. There hasn't even been a vaccine developed despite the world's leading scientists working as fast as they can," the PM said.
Currently, 173 people have been affected, and the PM has said that the government is keeping a close watch on the situation to see that there is no exponential increase in the spread of disease. "However," he cautioned. "In a country like ours with a large population, such a situation isn't normal. Resolution and restraint is very important in combat against this global epidemic. As citizens, people need to strengthen their resolve to follow the advisories issues by state and central governments to fight coronavirus," he said, adding that people should try and call at least 10 people every day and tell them about the 'Junta Curfew' as well as the measures to prevent coronavirus.
He also asked people to follow a 'junta curfew' from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday. "I request people over the age of 60 to not venture out for the next few weeks," PM Modi added.
The prime minister also requested people not to go out and have routine check-ups in hospitals. "In case there is an emergency surgery, I request you to postpone it by a month," PM Modi added.
The Prime Minister also said that a special task force had been set up by the central government to tackle COVID-19 called the COVID-19 Economic Task Force, set up by the finance ministry. "We will also ensure that all essential items like food, water, medicines are available at all times for the people of India," PM Modi said, appealing to the people to not indulge in 'panic buying'. "I appeal to all not to go into panic buying to store essential commodities. Steps being taken to ensure that there is no scarcity of essential commodities," he added.
PM Modi concluded his speech by asking people to stand at their doorways and balconies on March 22, which is also the day of the Junta Curfew and applaud the doctors and nurses and hospital staff, not to mention the staff at the airports who have tirelessly worked during this time.
Watch the full speech here