Thursday, 19 Mar, 8.47 pm National Herald

PM calls for a 'Janata Curfew' on Sunday, asks people to prepare to cope with COVID-19 crisis

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appealed to the people to enforce a 'Janta Curfew' in the country from Sunday, March 22 between 8 am and 9 pm. Nobody should leave home during this curfew. Essential services, however, should continue.

The PM also called upon people to stay indoors in the next few weeks and not leave home unless it is absolutely necessary. People should work from home.

In what was largely a Public Relations exercise, the Prime Minister called upon the people to clap or beat utensils for five minutes at 5 pm on Sunday to thank people including medical professionals, delivery boys etc. who are serving people without caring for their own comfort and safety.

In an address which lasted 30 minutes, the Prime Minister asked people to refrain from crowding hospitals for routine check up.

A COVID-19 Task Force headed by the Finance Minister has been set up to suggest ways to overcome the economic impact of the pandemic. The pandemic will impact business and the poor. He asked industrialists, the middle classes and the rich not to cut wages of people who are unable to report for work.

He reassured the country that steps are being taken to ensure steady supply of essential goods and called upon them not to hoard medicine and essential goods.

Throughout Thursday, there was speculation that the PM would announce a lockdown in cities. But while stopping short of doing that, the PM seemed to be covering the back of his government, informing people of the tough times ahead and suggesting that the nation would unitedly fight the menace posed by the pandemic.

Questions were raised during the day on why the PM chose 1 24-hour window to build the suspense and allow rumours and panic to grow. Derek O'Brien, Rajya Sabha MP, wondered why the PM could not have delivered the address in Parliament, which is in session. Others asked why the PM did not address a press conference and field questions like the US President and the British Prime Minister have been doing.

The PR exercise was backed by several Hindi TV channels which ran headlines like the following

· PM ne thana hai, corona ko harana hai.

· Darwaze par mahamari.... sarkar ki puri tayari.

· Corona ke virudh Modi ka yuddh

· Corona se jeetna mumkin/ Modi ko poora yakin.

· PM ka corona par prahar

Reactions on Twitter were fast and furious !

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by Dailyhunt. Publisher: National Herald India