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Sunday, Oct 02, 2022

Could we have imposed lockdown had Covid pandemic struck before 2014: PM Modi

"Given the lack of toilets (in houses across rural India), could we have stopped the spread of virus? Could we have imposed lockdown in that situation?” Narendra Modi asked.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with 36 school students from Delhi, representing all States and Union Territories of India at the amphitheatre of the Rashtriya Swachhata Kendra, adhering to social distancing protocols, during its inauguartion, at Rajghat in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday wondered whether it would have been possible to impose lockdown in the country had the coronavirus hit before 2014.

Speaking at the inauguration of Rashtriya Swachhta Kendra, an interactive experience centre on Swachh Bharat Mission, in Delhi, PM Modi said, “Imagine what would have happened had pandemic like Coronavirus broken out before 2014. Given the lack of toilets (in houses across rural India), could we have stopped the spread of virus? Could we have imposed lockdown in a situation where over 60% population was forced to open defecation?”

Acknowledging that the cleanliness drive has been a big support in fight against coronavirus, he said, “Swachhagrah has empowered us in the fight against COVID-19.”

Interacting with students at the launch, Modi urged them to follow social distancing norms and wear masks to put up resistance against the novel coronavirus.

He said the newly inaugurated centre is a tribute towards Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts towards cleanliness and said, “Our journey of Swachhagrah has been exhibited with the spirit of Satyagrah in this centre.”

He also announced a week-long campaign, ‘Gandagi Mukt Bharat’, starting from August 8 till August 15 to free the nation from garbage. The prime minister said the drive is to “honour swaraj (self-rule), meaning ‘gandagi Bharat choro saptah’ (garbage quit India week)”, and reminded that August 8 is the anniversary of Quit India Movement.

He urged the officials at the district level to build toilets in all the villages and to repair the existing facilities during the week. He said areas where migrant workers from other states are residing should get priority. “Together, we have to move forward … preparing compost out of dirt, water recycling, getting rid of single-use plastic,” he added.

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With a single-day rise of 61,537 cases, India’s coronavirus tally reached 20,88,611 while the death toll due to the disease rose to 42,518 with 933 fresh fatalities being reported in a day, the health ministry data updated at 8 am showed.

First published on: 08-08-2020 at 08:06:56 pm
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