Fighting COVID-19: PM announces Nationwide Lockdown

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By Our Correspondent/ Press Information Bureau

 NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced India was going into a complete lockdown mode from midnight on Tuesday resulting in a complete ban on people stepping out of their homes in order to prevent further transmission of Coronavirus in India that has registered over 500 cases so far.

He added that social distancing was the only effective measure to fight Coronavirus that had deflated the most advanced countries across the world despite their infrastructure while criticising those who have been reported to flout in the last couple of days.

‘The cycle of transmission must be broken if we have to defeat coronavirus,’ he said and added that ‘Some people were under this misconception that social distancing was only for the sick, but it is meant for everyone for their own safety, it applies even to the prime minister’.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday interacted with the medical fraternity including doctors, nurses and lab technicians from all over the country via video conference.

Prime Minister hailed the selfless work done by the medical professionals in India  in dealing with COVID-19.

He said that the entire nation saluted them during ‘Janta Curfew’ and once again he acknowledged their service to the nation. He said that it is important to acknowledge the contribution of the family members of the medical fraternity also, for being their pillars of support.

Prime Minister said that the challenge in front of the country is unprecedented and historic. At this juncture, the entire nation is looking forward to the medical fraternity with hope, and it is imperative that their morale never goes down even while facing such a huge challenge.

Assuring the medical fraternity of all the support from the government, Prime Minister asked them to follow all the necessary protocols and to take adequate precautions to prevent getting infected. He asked them to guide the general public on the do’s and dont’s to be followed, advice on the importance of self- quarantine and social distancing and provide information about where they can receive treatment.

He urged them to generate all round awareness and also counter promotion of unscientific therapies and misinformation. He also exhorted them to provide rapid training and upgrade of skills of health workers and technicians to be ready to meet the challenge head on.

The representatives of the medical fraternity expressed gratitude to the pioneering leadership of the Prime Minister in this hour of need. They thanked him for the mantra of ‘sankalp and sanyam’. All India Nurses Federation thanked the Prime Minister for recognizing their contribution in the 200th birth year celebrations of Florence Nightingale.

The representatives talked about their efforts to provide medical as well as psychological assistance to those in need. They spoke about the importance of quarantine measures; importance of dedicated hospitals/departments for tackling COVID-19 cases & arrangements for online training modules. They also talked about the importance of community displaying sensitivity to the needs of the medical fraternity in this hour of need.

Prime Minister thanked the medical fraternity for the wide ranging and multi-dimensional suggestions. He said that the government will examine proposals for greater usage of teleconsultations for medical treatment. He also said that security concerns of the healthcare workers and doctors will be treated with utmost importance. He added that it was heartening to hear their optimistic tone which has instilled greater confidence in him that the country will successfully face the challenge and emerge triumphant.

Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also acknowledged their contribution. She talked about the proactive, graded response which has evolved with the developing situation.

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Principal Secretary, Cabinet Secretary and DG, ICMR also participated in the interaction.

Modi also interacted with over twenty journalists and stakeholders from Print Media from all over the country via video conference. The journalists joined the interaction from fourteen locations and consisted of  both  national and regional media, representing eleven different languages.

Prime Minister said that media has played a praise-worthy role in disseminating information to every nook and cranny of this nation. He said that the network of media is pan-India and spread across cities and villages. This makes the media all the more significant in fighting this challenge and spreading correct information about it at micro level.

He said that newspapers carry tremendous credibility and the local page of a region is widely read by people. It is therefore imperative that awareness about coronavirus is spread through articles published in this page. It is essential to inform people about where the testing centres are, who should get tested, whom to contact to get tested and follow home isolation protocols. This information should be shared in newspapers and web portals of the paper, the Prime Minister said. He also suggested that information like location of availability of essential items during lockdown can also be shared in the regional pages.

Prime Minister asked the media to act as a link between government and people and provide continuous feedback, at both national and regional level. He underlined the importance of social distancing, asking media to generate awareness about its importance, inform people about the lockdown decision by states, and also highlight the impact of spread of the virus, through inclusion of international data and case studies about other countries in the papers.

Underlining that it is imperative to keep the fighting spirit of the people up; PM emphasized that it was important to tackle the spread of pessimism, negativity and rumour mongering. Citizens need to be assured that the government is committed to countering the impact of COVID-19.

The journalists and stakeholders from Print Media appreciated the role played by the Prime Minister in communicating effectively and leading the country from the front. They said that they will work on the suggestions of the Prime Minister to publish inspiring and positive stories. They also thanked him for reinforcing the credibility of print media and noted that the entire nation has followed his message of coming together to face this grave challenge.

Prime Minister thanked the participants for the feedback and reminded them of the social responsibility towards the less privileged. He said it is critical to improve social cohesion to safeguard our national security.

Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare thanked the journalists for preventing the spread of panic through sharing information about proactive, preemptive and graded response of the Government. She appealed to the print media to prevent the spread of misinformation in this hour of crisis.Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting and Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting also participated in the interaction.

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