“Don’t let your guard down”: PM Modi advises the nation
On 20th October 2020, PM Modi addressed the nation for the seventh time since the Covid-19 outbreak and lockdown in the country. The prime minister assured that the government is doing everything to ensure that the vaccine reaches everyone. He cautions the citizen how the lockdown has been lifted but the virus is still here. Right before the celebrations of an extended festival, PM Modi urged the people to not let their guards down.
The Prime Minister reiterated international examples — from the US and European countries — to suggest that any laxity could lead to a spike in infections. He also gave Indian examples, citing recent videos and photographs, to suggest that there was a pattern of growing carelessness and Covid-19 fatigue at home. He asked citizens to spread awareness about the risks of the disease as an act of national service. He expressed his disappointment at people not wearing masks and taking the right precautions while stepping out of the house. He said they are putting the lives of themselves as well as their families at risk. This acted as a forewarning right before the Vijayadashami festival, which often sees large gatherings at pandals, especially in West Bengal. It also comes before other festivals such as Dussehra, Eid, Chatth, and Diwali, many of which are public festivals. The onset of this period has brought forth tension between public health imperatives (which stipulate distancing) on one side; and religious traditions (where the expression of faith is often public), and economic considerations (this is a season which witnesses higher consumer spending) on the other.
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He put for the stats – 5,500 cases and 83 deaths per million in India against close to 2,500 cases and 600 deaths per million in countries such as the United States and Brazil — to stress that India has both a high recovery rate and low fatality rate. India also, he said, now, had nine million beds for Covid-19 patients, 12,000 quarantine centers, and 2,000 labs; and is close to completing 100 million tests.
He says that the economy is pacing up and the situation of the country is getting stable, but this should not be taken for granted. He reminds people that the vaccine is yet to come and the perils of the virus still persist.