Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs. 15,000 crore package to fight the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed ten lives and infected nearly 520 people in India. In a televised address to the nation on Tuesday evening, PM Modi said the amount has been mobilised to treat COVID-19 patients and acquire essential supplies like isolation beds and ventilators to fight the outbreak. He also announced that India will enter into a 21-day period "complete lockdown" starting midnight on Tuesday to contain the disease.
"The Centre is preparing the healthcare system to fight against Coronavirus pandemic. To treat Coronavirus patients and strengthen the health infrastructure of the country, the Central government has provisioned Rs 15,000 crore. With this, we will increase the availability of Coronavirus testing facilities, personal protection equipment (PPE), isolation beds, ICU beds, ventilators and all other necessary equipment. Along with this, medical and paramedical training will also be given," PM Modi said in his near 30-minute address.
The government is aiming to acquire more Coronavirus testing kits to test suspected positive cases and begin the treatments as soon as possible. According to government officials, those who are infected are the ones who travelled from abroad, especially from Europe. The threat of community transmission looms high and the only way to combat it is to test people and quickly separate them from the rest.
There has been rising demands from health officials to increase the availability of PPEs so as to protect themselves from contracting COVID-19 while treating patients. The allocation of more funds to get isolation and ICU (Intensive Care Unit) beds will also help hospitals that face an uphill task to accommodate more people as the number of positive cases spike by the day.
Amid the rising Coronavirus cases in India, PM Modi, on Tuesday, announced a 21-day lockdown throughout India starting at midnight on Tuesday. He said that 21 days were necessary for breaking the transmission cycle of the pandemic. The 21-day curfew is applicable to all states, districts, and villages — irrespective of whether they are currently under curfew or not.
"From midnight, across the country, there will be countrywide lockdown in India. There will be a complete restriction on leaving one's residence. All districts, village will be locked down. This is curfew only — a stricter curfew than the Janta curfew. We have to bear economic consequences because of this. But to save every Indian's life is my and the government's responsibility," said PM Modi.