Prime Minister Narendra Modi and European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen had a telephonic conversation on Tuesday, March 24, during which the latter praised the Indian leader for taking early measures to combat COVID-19 pandemic. This comes as PM Modi announced a 21-day national lockdown starting at midnight on March 24. Meanwhile, the deadly virus has infected 536 and caused 10 deaths across the country.
During the telephonic conversation, Leyen expressed her appreciation for India's help to European nationals stuck in the country while PM Modi, on the other hand, expressed his condolence over the deaths in Europe. This comes as coronavirus has reached almost every nation in Europe, with Italy being the worse hit.
A statement released by the Prime Minister's office reveals that PM Modi highlighted the importance of global coordination and cooperation in the battle against COVID-19 pandemic and also dwelt at India's move to combat the deadly virus.
During his televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister announced a 21-day complete lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. He said that the 21-day curfew was necessary for breaking the transmission cycle of the virus. The curfew is applicable to all states, districts, and villages. Currently, India's COVID-19 positive cases stand at 519, with 10 deaths.
"From midnight 12 across the country, there will be countrywide lockdown in India. Complete restriction of leaving out from the residence. All districts, villages will be locked down. This is curfew only - a stricter curfew than Janta curfew. We have to bear economic consequences because of this. But to save every Indian's life at this time is my and the government's responsibility," said PM Modi.
He added, "I appeal to you with folded hands that wherever you are in the nation now, stay there only. Looking at the present situation, the lockdown will be for 21 days - 3 weeks. Coming 21 days are very crucial for families and citizens. As per experts, 21 days is needed minimum for breaking the cycle. If 21 days not handled, then the country and your family will go back to 21 years behind."
File Photograph, Image credits: ANI