Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday apologized to the nation, especially the poor, for the “inconvenience" caused by the 21-day lockdown ordered to fight the Covid-19 outbreak, amid growing concern over the tens of thousands of migrant informal sector workers leaving Delhi in crowded conditions.
Modi also asked people to be patient in the days to come and help the poor.“I apologize to the people of the country because of inconvenience caused to them. I specially apologize to the poor and financially weaker sections who would be probably thinking that what kind of a Prime Minister is Modi. It is possible that poor would be angry with me for taking such steps," Modi said during his monthly radio programme Mann Ki Baat.
Modi said that while he has asked people to maintain social distancing, this does not mean that there should be emotional distancing between people or family members. “Some people believe that by following the rules of lockdown they are helping others but that is not correct. This is a myth and it is not correct. Lockdown is to protect you and your family members. You will have to be patient for several days to come and we have to maintaining social distancing and not go out of our homes."
Modi said the decisions taken by the Union government were stringent because this a matter of life and death and that the people of India have to win this war against coronavirus. He hoped that maybe by the time of the next episode of Mann Ki Baat, India would have won the war against coronavirus.
The prime minister said he has received information that some people are not behaving properly with those who have either tested positive for coronavirus or are in home-quarantine.
“The decision to maintain social distancing and stay at home is an opportunity to people to look within and to find themselves. People should maintain social distancing and follow the rules of lockdown but there should be no emotional distancing between family members or with anyone else," he added.
The PM said that coronavirus has stalled the world and it remains a challenge for both the rich and poor irrespective of region or country. Modi said that all of humanity will have to come together to fight coronavirus.
Modi said that the biggest problem with the threat of coronavirus is that the number of patients increase exponentially all of a sudden and countries even with the best of medical facilities have not been able to control it which is evident in different parts of the world. PM said that social distancing was the biggest step against the fight against the spread of coronavirus. “There are many people who are fighting this war against coronavirus outside their homes. People like doctors, nurses and paramedical staff were the frontline soldiers in the war against coronavirus. They are fighting for us so that we can remain safe in our homes."
In the course of the address, Modi also spoke to people who were tested positive of coronavirus but have now recovered and those who have been asked to stay at home and follow the rules of home quarantine by the doctors.
“We have to be thankful and grateful towards those who are making our stay at home easier. People like grocery shop owner who is taking risk so that people can get essential supplies, cleaners, drivers who are working overtime to provide essential commodities, people who are providing phone services, banking staff, internet services. There are many who are risking their security so that people do not face problems during lockdown," the PM added.