While some lockdown restrictions have been eased in some areas over the last few days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday cautioned against “negligence” and “overconfidence” in the “people-driven” fight against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Quoting the Hindi idiom “Sawdhani hati, durghatna ghati” (an accident happens as soon as the guard is lowered) to underline his point, Modi, in his monthly Mann Ki Baat programme, said: “Let us not get caught in the trap of overconfidence, let us not harbour a feeling that if the coronavirus has not reached our city, village, street or office yet, it will not reach now. Never make such a mistake.”
Citing a Sanskrit shloka, he said: “Fire, debt and illness, if taken lightly, grow again at the first opportunity, assuming dangerous proportions. So it is important to treat them completely. Therefore, in overenthusiasm, there should be no negligence. We will always have to remain cautious.”
Emphasising the importance of social distancing, he said: “Do gaj doori, bahut hai zaroori (a distance of two yards is essential).” He also exhorted people to stop spitting in public places, saying it was time to get rid of this “bad habit” once and for all.
“Due to COVID-19, masks are becoming a part of our lives. It doesn’t mean that all those who are wearing it are sick. Masks will become a new symbol of a civilised society. If you want to protect yourself and others from the disease, use of a mask is important,” he said.
The Prime Minister said India’s fight against COVID-19 was “people-driven” in the truest sense of the term. In recent weeks, he said, people of different faiths have celebrated their religious festivals at home, following the instructions of the authorities.
He also urged more prayers during the ongoing month of Ramzan. “Now that this trouble has come to plague the entire world, it gives us an opportunity to mark this Ramzan as an icon of restraint, goodwill, sensitivity and service. This time, we should pray more than ever before, so that prior to the celebration of Eid, the world is rid of the coronavirus and we celebrate Eid with enthusiasm and gaiety like earlier times,” he said.
Modi also talked about India’s attempts to supply hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to 13 countries. “We took a decision in keeping with our culture. We undertook the task of providing medical supplies to the needy across the world, and have successfully completed this humanitarian task,” he said.
“We have created a digital platform ‘covidwarriors.gov.in’ — volunteers of social organisations, civil society and local administration are connected through this platform. About 1.25 crore people, including doctors, nurses, NCC cadets among others have already joined this platform. You can also join the fight as a COVID warrior by logging in to the site,” he said.