With the onset of festival season, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday made an impassioned appeal to people to follow COVID-19 guidelines, saying this is not the time to be careless as the virus is still around and even a small negligence can dampen the festive spirit.
In his seventh address to the nation following the COVID-19 outbreak, Modi cited examples of the US and several European countries to note that the coronavirus cases there have seen a sudden and worrisome rise after witnessing a fall, as he cautioned citizens against any laxity until an effective cure is found.
He said pictures and videos have of late emerged showing that many people have either stopped following precautions like wearing masks or have become negligent.
“This is absolutely not right. Those who have become negligent and are moving around without masks are putting themselves and their families, including children and elderly, at risk,” he said in his televised speech.
He noted that people have been getting on with their lives after the lockdown was lifted while economic activities are picking up and crowds are slowly returning to markets in the festive times.
At one point in his speech, he folded his hands to impress upon people to take precautions like wearing masks, sanitising their hands and maintaining social distance and said he wants to see them safe and their families happy.
“We must keep in mind that lockdown may have ended, but the virus is still there… This is not the time to be negligent, this is not the time to believe that corona is gone or there is no danger from it,” he said.
“India is in a stable situation today due to efforts of every Indian in the last seven-eight months, and we have to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate,” he added.
Modi invoked sages like Kabir and the holy scripture of Ramcharitmanas to make his point about not taking a disease lightly until it is fully overcome.
People should continue to be careful and not be callous until a vaccine is found, Modi said.
Countries across the world are working at a war-footing to develop a vaccine, and scientists in India have also been working hard in this regard.
The prime minister said the government is making all efforts to ensure that a vaccine, whenever it is launched, reaches every Indian.
“We all must remember, there can be no laxity till a cure is found (Jab tak dawai nahin, tab tak dhilai nahin),” Modi said.
He also urged the media and people on social media to campaign to spread public awareness about following the COVID-19 guidelines.
Modi also highlighted India’s “success” in saving lives in the fight against the disease compared to resourceful countries like the US, Spain, Brazil and Britain.
While there are 25,000 COVID cases for one million population in countries like the US and Brazil, the corresponding figure in India is only 5,500. The number of fatalities in India is 83 for a million population against more than 600 in nations like the US, Brazil, Spain and Britain, he said.
India now has more than 90 lakh beds for COVID-19 patients, 12,000 quarantine centres, 2,000 labs for testing, the prime minister said, adding that the total number of tests will soon cross 10 crores.
Festivals are a time of happiness but even a small amount of negligence can dampen our spirits, he said.
While Navratra and Durga Puja festivities have already begun, festivals like Diwali and Chhath will be celebrated next month.
Modi also greeted people for various festivals, including Eid-Milad-un-Nabi and Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary.
The number of new coronavirus infections reported daily in India dropped below 50,000 for the first time in nearly three months, taking the COVID-19 caseload to 75,97,063 on Tuesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
A total of 46,790 fresh infections were reported in a day, while the death toll climbed to 1,15,197 with 587 fatalities being registered in a span of 24 hours, the data updated showed.
The number of new fatalities reported daily across the country was recorded below 600 for the second consecutive day.
The total recoveries crossed 67 lakh while active cases of coronavirus infection remained below 8 lakh for the fourth consecutive day. A total 67,33,328 people have recuperated from the disease so far pushing the national recovery rate to 88.63 per cent while the case fatality rate due COVID-19 stands at 1.52 per cent.