Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday appealed to citizens to light candles at 9 pm on April 5 for the nation to show their “strength of unity” in their fight against coronavirus which has infected over 2,000 and claimed more than 50 lives so far.
“This Sunday, on the 5th of April, we must all together, challenge the darkness spread by the corona crisis, introducing it to the power of light. On this 5th of April, we must awaken the superpower of 130 crore Indians. We must take the superresolve of 130 crore Indians to even greater heights,” he said in a video message to the nation.
“On the 5th of April, on Sunday, I want 9 minutes from all you, at 9 pm. Listen carefully, on the 5th of April, at 9 pm, turn off all the lights in your homes, stand at your doors or in you balconies, and light candles or diyas, torches or mobile flashlights for 9 minutes. I repeat, light candles or diyas, torches or mobile flashlights, for 9 minutes at 9 pm on the 5th of April,” he added.
The prime minister also reiterated the need to maintain social distancing and urged citizens to remain indoors while performing the act.
“Friends, I have one more prayer in this regard, that no one must assemble or gather anywhere while participating in this program. Please do not go out on to the roads, lanes or your localities, do it at the doorstep or balconies of your own homes. One must never cross the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ of social distancing. Social distancing should not be breached under any circumstances. This is the only panacea to break the chain of coronavirus,” he said.
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Besides this, Modi also lauded the efforts of the citizens to support the 21-day lockdown and said, “Today is the ninth day of lockdown. Your contribution has been immense. All of you together have tried your best to control the situation.”
“Today, a lot of countries are following us. I thank everyone for respecting the lockdown,” he added.
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prime minister has twice addressed the nation and one to the citizens of his constituency in Varanasi. Besides, he has reached out to journalists, chief ministers, doctors and health workers through video conferencing to encourage them to fight the outbreak.
In a video interaction with the chief ministers of states on Thursday, the prime minister emphasised on the need of common but staggered exit strategy to lift the lockdown across the country.
In his first address to the nation on March 19, Modi had called for a Janata curfew for 14 hours from 7 AM to 9 PM on March 22 and follow the mantra of “resolve and restraint” to fight the coronavirus.
A day after the Janata curfew on March 23, Modi announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days to break the coronavirus transmission chain.
In his address to his constituency Varanasi on March 24, he announced the creation of a Corona Helpdesk, besides lauding the healthcare professionals and medical staff who were “risking their lives to keep ours safe”.
With lakhs of migrant workers forced to walk from cities to their homes, having lost employment in the wake of the lockdown, and with no access to public transport, Modi sought “forgiveness” for the difficulties caused by the 21-day nationwide lockdown, especially to the poor, while hoping that the country would put the coronavirus crisis behind in a month’s time. In his monthly radio address Mann ki Baat, the Prime Minister said he had no choice but to take tough measures.
Across the country, the total number of positive cases is now 2,069 (155 recovered, 53 dead), with 235 new cases being reported in the last 24 hours. Of these, 400 positive cases have been linked to the Tablighi Jamaat congregation.
Of the 53 deaths, at least 15 have been linked to the Delhi meet — nine in Telangana, and one each in Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Mumbai, Kashmir and Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, 7,900 samples from across the country have been tested so far.
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