India will remain under a lockdown till May 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this morning in his fourth address to the nation in the last one month as the country fights coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 count has crossed the 10,000-mark in India, which includes more than 300 deaths, Union Health Ministry said this morning. He addressed the nation this morning for nearly 30 minutes.
The address comes after PM Modi held a video conference with 13 chief ministers on Saturday and discussed the situation across the country in the four-hour meeting. While saving lives is priority, the economy also needs to restart, he suggested. "Jaan bhi, jahaan bhi (both life and economy are important)," he told the Chief Ministers, compared to what he had said three weeks ago while announcing the total nationwide lockdown - "Jaan hai toh jahaan hai (the world exists if life exists)."
Hours before his address today, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in a video message praised those at the forefront in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. "What can be more patriotic that all of us fighting the pandemic together. Our coronavirus warriors are fighting this war despite lack of basic safety gear," she said, urging the people to follow the lockdown to contain the spread of the illness.
PM Modi had last addressed the nation on April 3 when he appealed to the people across the country to light lamps in fight against the "darkness of the COVID-19 pandemic". On March 24, he had announced a three-week lockdown to contain the spread of the illness. In an earlier address on March 19, he had urged people to observe a 14-hour self quarantine, dubbed as "Janata Curfew".
Here are the highlights of PM Modi's address to the nation:
- "India will have to extend the lockdown till May 3".
- "We must ensure that new hotspots do not spring up. Hotspots will see enhanced lockdown measures. For this, the nation will face stricter lockdown measures till April 20".
- "Till April 20, each district, each state will be monitored closely to see whether the lockdown is being followed. Then we can decide on relaxing the restrictions," said the Prime Minister."
- "Need you support in seven things: Take care of those vulnerable in the family. Secondly, follow the lockdown rules, social distancing norms. Thirdly, make sure you to take measures to boost your immunity suggested by Ayush Ministry. Fourth, download Arogya Setu app. Fifth, help the poor, ensure provisions for them. Sixthly, show empathy towards those working with you, don't fire people. Lastly, those at the forefront in fight against coronavirus - doctors, health officials, policemen... respect them."
- "Easing the difficulty of poor people, farmers is among my top priorities."
- "The country has benefited from social distancing and lockdown. Yes, we had to pay a price but that's not more important than saving the lives of Indians."
- "India didn't wait for the crisis to aggravate. Many developed nations are facing challenges in fighting against the spread... statistics are a proof".
- "You people have helped save the nation. I am aware of the challenges you all are facing. Some of you are away from home, others are finding challenges in getting food, other essentials. I bow to all of you."
- "Our resolve to fight the pandemic is true tribute to Baba Saheb Ambedkar. The country has shown 'we the people of india' spirit during lockdown."
- "I pray for the good health of your family."