Just hours before his address, the government announced it will not allow any international commercial passenger aircraft to land from March 22-29. The central government said the railways and Civil Aviation Ministry must suspend all concessional travel on trains and flights, except for students, patients and disabled people. “Similarly, all children below 10 should be advised to stay at home and not to venture out,” it added.
The Centre has requested states to enforce work from home for private sector employees, except for those working in emergency and essential services. “State governments shall issue appropriate directions so that all citizens above 65 (other than for medical assistance) except for public representatives or government servants or medical professionals are advised to remain at home,” the statement noted.
To reduce huge gatherings, all group B and C category of central government employees will be asked to attend offices on alternate weeks, and there will be “staggered timings” for all employees.
Modi had on Wednesday chaired a high-level meeting to review the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus. “Ways to further strengthen India’s preparedness were discussed. This includes further enhancing testing facilities,” the PMO said.
The Prime Minister has emphasised on actively engaging with individuals, local communities and organisations in chalking out mechanisms to fight the coronavirus menace. He has also urged officials and technical experts to deliberate on the steps to be taken next.
Addressing the issue of coronavirus, the prime minister says, “This crisis has engulfed the entire human race. For the past two months, we have been watching with concern the news about coronavirus spreading across the world.”
“In the last few days there has been an environment of crisis. Every Indian needs to be cautious and careful. It is important for each of us to be alert. Indians have never disappointed me when I have asked for something in the past. This time, I want a few of your weeks.” the prime minister says.
Appealing to the people to follow social distancing, the prime minister says caution must be practiced to ensure that all of us are safe from contracting the coronavirus infection. He calls for avoiding all non-essential outings.