Rajat Sharma

How PM neither concealed, nor underplayed, but showed the way to deal with Coronavirus threat

1 In his address to the nation on Thursday night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi neither concealed nor underplayed the enormity of the Coronavirus pandemic that has engulfed the entire globe. At the same time, he did not try to scare the public, but chose to explain and showed the way to deal with this threat.

I fully support his appeal for ‘Janata Curfew’ on Sunday (March 22) from 7 am till 9 pm throughout India. I appeal to all of you to join hands and enforce ‘Janata Curfew’. This will send a strong message to the world at large that India is determined to fight this menace unitedly.

The Prime Minister himself said, “This will, in a way, be a litmus test for us, to see how prepared India is to fight off this global pandemic”.

He also called on people to express gratitude to the doctors, nurses, paramedics, municipal staff, police and airport workers, by going to their balconies and windows at 5 pm on Sunday and express their support by clapping, banging plates and ringing bells. “They are the protectors of the nation”, he said.

In a nutshell, let me list 9 salient points from his speech: 1. Be alert and do not move out of your home unless it is essential 2. Those whose age is more than 60-65 years must stay at home as they are vulnerable. 3. Adhere to Janata Curfew on Sunday 4. Express gratitude to health workers, municipal workers, police and other essential staff on Sunday at 5 pm 5. Avoid going to hospitals unless it is essential. 6. Covid-19 economic task force formed to suggest fiscal measures 7. Businessmen requested not to deduct salaries of their staff 8. Stop panic buying as nation has enough stocks of food and essential goods 9. Do not believe in rumours and exercise restraint.

Never in the past had any Prime Minister gone to the people seeking their cooperation in combating a health threat of this magnitude. Modi patiently explained the magnitude of the threat and gave advice on how to deal with this menace.

The two words which he emphasized repeatedly were “sanyam” (restraint) and “sankalp” (determination). Remember, coronavirus hits large number of people suddenly. Let us not be complacent while thinking it may not hit us with the same magnitude with which it hit other countries.

Finally, do not trust rumours and fake claims. On Wednesday, there was a fake message circulating on social media attributing to National Security Council that a prolonged lockdown will take place. Thousands of people believed this and there was panic buying in several metros. The government had to issue clarification saying the circular was fake.

Similarly, do not trust claims by babas and self-proclaimed healers that drinking cow urine, camel urine, boiling peepal leaf in oil, eating tulsi, neem leaves, drinking water mixed with honey, ginger and lemon will protect one from this virus. These claims are not scientifically proven. Practising social distancing and following Health Ministry’s guidelines are the keys to tackle this global scourge.

While thanking our health workers on Sunday evening, we should also thank our Prime Minister who took timely action through proper planning to stop this virus from spreading in India. He truly deserves our salute.

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