With chief ministers of several states already announcing an extension to the lockdown imposed in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, a national address from Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected any day. On April 14, at 10 am, which seems to be his new favourite slot, PM Modi in his speech, announced an extension to the existing nationwide lockdown until May 3, and also asked the citizens for help with seven things.
The Prime Minister, early on in his speech, also praised the people for the way they had conducted themselves during the lockdown, and reminded them of what the words ‘We The People of India’ meant in the Indian Constitution. He also paid homage to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar, as the nation celebrates his birth anniversary today with Ambedkar Jayanti.
Here are the key highlights of PM Narendra Modi’s national address about COVID-19 on April 14, 2020:
The PM began his speech by highlighting how India was in a far better position than most other nations right now. He mentioned India’s proactive efforts in fighting Coronavirus, from early screenings of international travellers when we were only a 100 cases down to mandating quarantine and imposing the 21 day lockdown when we were only around 550 cases.
He went on to laud the people of India on the way they had continued to adhere to the lockdown despite this being a time for festivals like Baisakhi, which mark the start of a new year for many.
PM agreed that while the path of lockdown and social distancing chosen by the country was an expensive decision for the economy, it was a price that we had to pay for the lives of Indians, which are invaluable.
While praising the efforts of the State and Central governments and healthcare departments, PM Modi talked about internally discussing the next steps which, he said, was a unanimous call for an extension of the lockdown.
The nationwide lockdown would therefore be extended until May 3, 2020.
He said that the next one week will be very crucial for the fight against Coronavirus. While medicines and ration would be appropriately available for everyone, there will also be more stringent measures needed as new hotspots might emerge across the country.
However, PM Modi also announced that those areas that are outside hotspots might get some relief post April 20, and some more necessary services might be permitted, but with conditions applied.
Furthermore, if it was determined that the cases were rising or if the rules are not followed, then the lockdown would be imposed in these areas again.
Towards the end of his speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked 7 things of the citizens:
- Senior citizens in the house, especially the ones with existing medical conditions, be kept safe.
- The guidelines for social distancing must be maintained during the lockdown, and homemade masks, etc, must be worn.
- In order to increase one’s immunity, the guidelines provided by the Ayush Ministry, which include suggestions like drinking hot fluids, etc, should be followed.
- Citizens can download the Arogya Setu mobile app
- The vulnerable and marginalised sections of the society should be taken care of during these hard times
- He requested employers to not fire or lay off people in these times.
- Finally, he asked everyone to appreciate, respect and support the law enforcement and healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly around the clock to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
PM Modi also said that more extensive guidelines will be announced by the government tomorrow.
You can watch PM Narendra Modi’s full speech here:
For those eager for some new task to be announced, there was disappointment. However, the thing that was most clear was that social distancing norms are working for us, and a stricter lockdown must be followed by all citizens to overcome this pandemic.