Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Monday saying the nationwide lockdown, which had begun on March 25 and was announced to end on Tuesday, will now be extended till May 3, for another three weeks. In his speech, PM Modi stated, "Health experts around the world are on hight alert and are monitoring with a keen eye as to how the coronavirus is spreading. In India, discussions on a constant basis are being held with state governments on the approach to defeating the COVID-19 virus and the steps that need to be taken to reduce the losses as well as the trials and tribulations of the people. For a while now, there have been a lot of requests for the lockdown to be extended and many states have implemented it as well. It is during this time that I urge all to continue following the necessary precautions required to ward off the dreaded disease,".
The Prime Minister added that the situation across the country will be monitored closely till April 20. He added, "Till April 20, all states, districts, localities will be monitored closely to see how strictly the norms are being implemented. There will be permissions (relaxations) granted for some activities, with a few certain conditions inclusive, for the states that do not see an increase in the number of hotspots. If we achieve this, we, as a nation, will have passed the 'Agni Pariksha'. However, permissions will be withdrawn without a second thought in case the lockdown norms are violated and a list of guidelines in detail will be issued on Wednesday,".
PM Modi then said, "Screening of international passengers arriving from countries affected by coronavirus had already begun even before a single case was reported in India. We had taken the decision to implement the nationwide lockdown for 21 days when there were only 550 cases reported in India and never waited for the issue to grow further. The united effort of the people and the government has seen the spread of the coronavirus to be put under a control and we have averted a major disaster. The problems being faced by the farmers are being looked into by the centre and state governments and there is plenty of stock of essentials for the people of the nation. As on date, India has over 600 hospitals treating the COVID-19 pandemic and we have made arrangements for more than one lakh beds. In January, we had only one lab for the coronavirus testing, but currently stand at over 220 labs,".
Concluding his speech, PM Modi urged the citizens of the nation to follow a few steps:
1) Taking proper care of the senior citizens.
2) Social distancing needs to be followed at all costs and focus on staying within the confines of the home during the lockdown period.
3) Home-made face covers and masks should be used.
4) Follow the directions given by the Ayush Ministry to increase immunity.
5) Download the Aarogya Setu application to learn the steps that need to be taken to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
6) Aid the poor families whenever possible.
7) Assist co-workers in businesses.
8) Respect the people fighting the COVID-19 virus on the front line - doctors, nurses, sanitation workers.
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