PM Narendra Modi Appeals For Caution Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appealed to the nation as it grapples with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Over 175 people have been tested positive with the virus in India and businesses, too, have already started to feel the pinch of what has been deemed as one of the worst pandemics the world has ever faced.
In his much-awaited speech, PM Modi touched upon various ways through which people of the country can protect themselves, and what the government was doing to keep things in check.
He said resolve and restraint were two things that all citizens must follow to fight the pandemic, and requested people to only step out when it is extremely important.
Economic Task Force
PM Modi said the pandemic had severely affected the economy and the government has decided to create a COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force which will be in constant contact with all stakeholders and take necessary decisions in the near future.
The task force, under finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, will ensure all decisions to tide over the economic crisis are implemented.
He added that the middle and lower middle class as well as the poor had been hit by the pandemic and requested employers not to cut the wages of those who can't come to work.
While there were expectations of a larger lockdown announcement, PM Modi urged people to observe a self-imposed curfew - by the people and for the people - on March 22, from 7 am to 9 pm, which will help acquaint them with self-isolation.
He asked state governments to lead observance of the said curfew and added that it will prepare the people for coming hardships.
PM Modi said, to ensure that essential services such as hospitals are not overburdened during such a crisis, one must avoid visiting doctors for routine checkups or anything that can be done at a later time.
He said people should speak to doctors on the phone instead, and for those who have elective surgery, he asked to try and postpone it to a different date unless absolutely necessary.
Don't Hoard Essentials
To address the issue of panic buying, which has seen things such as sanitizers and masks going out of stock, PM Modi urged people not to hoard essential commodities which could harm fellow citizens.
The government has taken measures to ensure supply of essential commodities such as milk, medicine and food is not hit, he said.