Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an address to the nation on March 19, said the coronavirus outbreak is an unprecedented crisis and that there is a need to display resolve and patience to fight it.
PM Modi, during his address, urged citizens to work from home "as far as possible" and said that a 'Janata Curfew' or public curfew should be practised on March 22, Sunday.
"I urge every Indian citizen for another help, that is, 'Janata curfew'. This means imposing a self-curfew. This Sunday, on March 22, from 7 am to 9 pm every citizen needs to observe people's curfew. During this period, people should not go out, should remain indoors," PM Modi said.
The prime minister also urged people to avoid stepping out of their homes unless it is absolutely essential.
“I request all people in the country to get out of the house only when it is extremely necessary, try and do all work from home,” PM Modi said, adding that those who are above the age of 60, should particularly remain indoors.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Prime Minister Modi also asked people to avoid going to hospitals for routine check-ups as far as possible.
“I request people to avoid going to hospitals for a routine check-up to ease pressure on the medical staff,” PM Modi said, urging those who can to postpone surgeries.
He announced the formation of a task force to deal with the economic effects of the outbreak.
“The government has decided to constitute COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force under Finance Minister (Nirmala Sitharaman). The task force will remain in regular touch with all stakeholders, take their feedback and make decisions accordingly,” PM Modi said.
PM Modi also urged citizens to not indulge in panic buying or hoarding of essentials and assured that the country has enough food and ration supplies. He also said that people should stay away from rumours.
“People need to resolve that they will follow the advice of central and state governments,” PM Modi said.
India has recorded 173 cases of the novel COVID-19 and registered four virus-related deaths. Fresh cases were reported from Chhattisgarh and Chandigarh, and most of the states and UT's imposed restrictions, inching towards partial shutdown in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus.
Some states such as Maharashtra, where the highest number of cases have been reported in India, have asked all schools, colleges, gyms to close down. The state administration has also hinted that if the situation worsens, it will have to suspend public transport.
Exams have been postponed and religious functions have been suspended, with authorities in some states such as Rajasthan, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh imposing Section 144— preventing the gathering of more than four people— in entire states or in parts of it.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said that there is no evidence of community transmission in India as of yet and that the nation continues to be in stage 2 (local transmission) of the outbreak.