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.
“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.