"From midnight, the entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown for 21 days. To save India, to save every citizen, you, your family... every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown," said PM Narendra Modi in his address to the nation last night.
The total number of active coronavirus cases in India has surged up to 512 and the deadly virus has claimed 11 lives across the country. COVID-19 is spreading exponentially and healthcare experts worry that the novel virus can lead to devastating consequences if strict measures aren't taken now. Therefore, PM's call for lockdown comes as a decisive measure to break the chain and to curb the spread of the virus. Stressing on how important the national lockdown is, PM said, "If we don't handle these 21 days well, then our country, your family will go backward by 21 years." This was his second address to the nation on the pandemic and he reiterated that each one of us must observe this lockdown even better than the Janata Curfew on March 22. "Forget about leaving home in the next 21 days. If you cross the lakshman Rekha, you will invite the virus home," said the PM.
In his 30-minute long speech, he also tried his best to clear misconceptions regarding the spread of the novel virus. He added, "Some think social distancing is only for patients. That's not correct. Social distancing is the only way to fight the virus. It is for every citizen, every family, every member, even for the PM." He also shared one of the posters that was shared on social media platforms to spread awareness in an innovative way. Take a look!
Under a national lockdown, uniform orders will be issued for the entire country. So far, different states had different guidelines for what comes under the lockdown. The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued exceptions to essential services like the following during the 21-day period:
Centre and state government offices of certain departments including defence, central armed police forces, treasury, public utilities, disaster management, power generation and transmission, post offices.
Both public and private hospitals. Other medical establishments including dispensaries, chemists and labs.
Shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder.
Banks, insurance offices and ATMs.
Print and electronic media along with telecommunication and Internet services.
Delivery of all essential goods including food, medicines and medical equipment through e-commerce.
Petrol pumps, LPG and related outlets.
Electricity generation and distribution units.
Capital and debt market services as notified by SEBI.
Manufacturing units of essential commodities.
Transportation only for essential goods and emergency services.
A maximum of 20 people will be allowed for funeral processions.
PM Modi also clarified in a tweet: 'THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO PANIC. Essential commodities, medicines would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this.'
However, if you violate the lockdown and step out of the house (unless for an essential purpose), you will be charged with imprisonment for a term of up to one year or fine or both. Your imprisonment term would be two years if you lie or make false claims to step out and break guidelines.
While essential services remain open (as explained above), there are many services and offices that are shut during the lockdown. These are:
Commercial, private and industrial establishments; other establishments to work from home only; all transport services; all educational institutions; all places of worship; ban on all social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions.
Panic buying across countries ... Cops are trying to explain to the people that essential commodities shops / ration store will remain open ... pic.twitter.com/ZIyzBYnbFY— Supriya Bhardwaj (@Supriya23bh) March 24, 2020
After the PM's address, many people resorted to panic-buying last night. Even after his tweet, long queues were seen outside departmental stores, supermarkets and pharmacists. While people are still worried, we must remember that these steps are only for a better future for all of us and most importantly to save our lives. Let us please unite and fight coronavirus. #StayHomeStaySafe
Featured Image: Twitter
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