'We have to treat disease completely & remain cautious'

Important to treat coronavirus completely and remain cautious: PM Modi

Narendra Modi (PTI photo)

Ahead of his crucial interaction with chief ministers on Monday to decide on the next course of the 40-day lockdown that ends next week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said India’s fight against coronavirus is people-driven and this is the only medium it possesses to fight the virus and triumph over.

Quoting a Sanskrit shloka, the Prime Minister also stressed that 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 over-enthusiasm, there should be no negligence at the local level or elsewhere. We will always have to remain cautious,” Modi said emphasising the importance of maintaining proper social distance and reiterated, “Maintain a distance of two yards and keep yourself healthy!” or "Do Gaz Doori, Bahut Hai Zaroori!".

His remarks came on a today the total number of COVID-19 cases in India climbed over 26,000.

Track live updates on coronavirus here

As the second phase of nationwide lockdown for 19 days (after the end of 21-day lockdown on April 15) has just one more week left, voices have grown in the Opposition to revisit the lockdown decision and not go for a third blanket lockdown in the country like the earlier two.

From April 20, the government has already announced a number of relaxations in lockdown conditions in sync with the government's priority on life as well as livelihood (Jaan bhi Jahan bhi) as enunciated by the Prime Minister, who had first focussed on saving lives (Jaan Hai to Jahan Hai).

Also Read: India's coronavirus battle is people-driven, says PM Narendra Modi: Key Highlights from Mann Ki Baat

While former Union Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday called for a re-think on lockdown measures warning against “lockdown of people and lockout of economy”, an organisation Right to Food Campaign (RTFC) went further clearly asking the government not to extend the lockdown beyond May 3, when the 40-day period is completed. While some chief ministers favour a further extension, the main Opposition party Congress has slammed the government for announcing on lockdowns while having no containment strategy.

Amid mounting criticism over its handling of problems of migrants, many of whom chose to walk thousands of miles on foot to reach their homes during lockdown, the government has indicated a tweaking in strategy, allowing states to move migrants to homes, starting from within state movement first.

Also Read: Coronavirus India update: State-wise total number of confirmed cases

Modi in his monthly radio address ‘Mann Ki Baat’, however, stressed that in in the truest sense of the term, in India, it is the people who are fighting the coronavirus.

“Cast a glance anywhere, you’ll notice that India’s fight is people driven…at a time when the whole world is trying to extricate itself from the clutches of this pandemic. In future, when it will be dwelt upon in hindsight, when ways and means will be reflected upon, I do believe that India’s people driven fight will also be touched upon,” he said calling it  a ’Mahayagya’. 

The Prime Minister also hailed his government’s recent decision to bring an ordinance to ensure strict punishment to those harassing or injuring or indulging in violence against 'corona warriors'. In the backdrop of a huge row over India’s decision to send hydroxychloroquine to US even after threatening language used by US President Donald Trump, Modi said in the past few days, India has taken some decisions while keeping true to its culture and ethos – and upholding our cultural heritage.

 

“During this crisis, the world - including rich and prosperous nations - is facing a shortage of medicines. In these times, even if India does not provide medicines to the world, no one would have faulted us. Every country would understand that obviously India would prioritise the lives of its own citizens. But, India went beyond nature and degeneration and took a decision,” Modi said.

Modi said today when he speaks to heads of state of various countries on phone, they make sure to express gratitude to the people of India.

Modi said a sea change in attitude towards wearing masks will be seen soon and it will now become a symbol of cultured society while another awareness is that people now understand the damage that can be caused by spitting in public places.