In order to get the coronavirus pandemic under control in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India will go under a complete lockdown for 21 days, starting midnight, March 25, 2020. However, PM Modi also assured that the central government has taken stringent steps to ensure that there is a continuous supply for all essential goods and services during the lockdown period. Moreover, Modi also appreciated the Indian private sector — private labs and hospitals — for standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the government in the time of the crisis.
It must be noted that as per ANI reports, ecommerce deliveries of foods, medicines and essentials would be counted as essential services.
PM Modi added that the 21-day period lockdown is long, but it is essential to save lives. In a speech that covered all aspects of the pandemic — from treatment to fake news — Modi highlighted that if the situation is not brought under control, then India would be pushed back by 21 years.
Besides this, the Indian government has also allocated INR 15K Cr to strengthen the Indian healthcare infrastructure. The fund will be used to develop testing facilities, personal protective equipment and procure more isolation beds, intensive care unit (ICU) beds and ventilators. Moreover, the government will be using the fund to train paramedical and medical staff.
“Today India is at the stage where our actions today will decide to what extent we can bring down the impact of this disaster. This is the time to strengthen our resolve again and again,” Modi added.
PM Modi added that he has asked several state governments to keep healthcare as the topmost priority. He highlighted that even countries with the best healthcare infrastructure have been suffering due to coronavirus and that the only way to end the cycle of infection is by self-quarantining.
Modi also cautioned people of believing fake news, rumours misinformation and superstition related to coronavirus being spread through social media platforms. He particularly cautioned against individuals’ self-medicating, which has proven to be deadly in multiple cases around the world during this pandemic.
Exactly a week ago, almost 70 Indian startups had reached out to the government, asking for a complete lockdown and imposition of Section 144 or curfew against group gatherings across major cities by March 20 for two weeks. These include founders of Bounce, Homelane, Cred, Urban Company, BlackBuck, MyGate, 1mg, MapMyIndia as well as venture capitalists like Matrix Partners, Stellaris Venture Partners among others.
The group referred to examples from countries like South Korea, Singapore, Japan, and others, who acted promptly to get the situation under control. The startup community also suggested the government to keep the citizen informed in order to avoid any panic, maintain supply chain and scale-up testing centres.