Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Sunday said that his party supports the steps being taken by the Punjab and Central governments to combat the COVID-19 outbreak. He said, "At this hour, we are human beings, Indians and Punjabis first and Akalis or Congressmen afterwards. Sikhism teaches us that we are all united in crisis."
The Akali Dal chief asked the party workers "to fully cooperate with the efforts of the Punjab and union governments in this regard." He said, "We will cooperate with whatever steps Prime Minister Narendra Modi announces for the country and Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for Punjab in this hour of shared challenge."
"This is the time to put politics on the back burner and stand united in humanity's fight against the new enemy. Every Akali worker must get into the Bhai Kanhaya mode especially during this phase," said Badal. He also appealed to the people to fully and faithfully obey government instructions on lockdown and to stay at home for as long as the government keeps the lockdown or curfew in place. He also sought special care for the elderly in every home and a keen watch in children.
At 5 pm on Sunday, citizens across the country rang bells and clapped at their doors and balconies, as the PM had suggested. The Health Ministry has thanked the people of the country for observing "Janta Curfew". "The country can overcome any challenge," an official said.
The Centre and state governments decided to lockdown 75 districts across the country where Coronavirus cases have been reported. Inter-state bus services have also been suspended till March 31. The decisions were taken at a high-level meeting attended by Chief Secretaries of all States and the Cabinet Secretary and the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister.
"Under this Janta curfew, no one should leave their home or gather in their neighbourhoods. Only those related to essential services should go out," PM Modi said in his address to the nation on Thursday. There are 360 active coronavirus cases in the country, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Sunday. The death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic in India has gone up to seven with three fatalities being reported in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Bihar.
(Photo credits: PTI)