The Lockdown Chronicle

As the world grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, India – home to 1.35 billion people – stayed indoors in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal for a Junta Curfew on March 22. When the clock struck 5 in the evening, the country reverberated with the sound of clapping and clanging of utensils in a show of solidarity and gratitude to each and every person involved in providing the front line of defence against the coronavirus. The junta was indeed united against the virus.

It was the beginning of a long haul to contain the spread of the pandemic as was evident in a series of tweets by Shri Modi cautioning people against complacency. He further urged people to follow the instructions being issued by the central government and the state governments from time to time.

On March 24, the Prime Minister announced a complete lockdown in the country for a 21-day period. He urged people to do just one thing in the next 21 days - Stay inside their homes.
In a bid to rally people amid the ongoing lockdown, Shri Modi asked people to switch off lights and light a diya for 9 minutes at 9 PM on April 5 to dispel the darkness created by coronavirus and to show that people are together in this fight against the pandemic. Millions across the country stepped out on their balconies, terrace and lawns to light a lamp or flash their mobile phone torch.

Addressing the nation on the last day of Lockdown 1, Shri Modi announced its extension till May 3.

The next day, Ministry of Home Affairs issued consolidated revised guidelines regarding lockdown measures to be taken by Ministries/Departments of Government of India, and State/UT Governments for containment of COVID-19 epidemic in the country. Certain additional activities, which were exempted from lockdown Measures under these, came into effect from April 20.

On May 1, the government further extended the nationwide lockdown for two weeks, till May 17. This phase, however, will be less severe than the first two phases with several relaxations applicable in all three zones-red, orange and green- except in containment zones.

Throughout this, the Government has taken several steps along with the States/UTs for prevention, containment and management of COVID-19 through a graded, pre-emptive and pro-active approach. The situation is regularly being reviewed and monitored at the highest level.

On May 3, at the cusp of the second and the third phase of lockdown, the armed forces facilitated the health workers spearheading the fight against COVID-19. In a mega effort, aerial flower shower and performances by military bands were organised as a ‘thank you’ note.

The lockdown seems to have achieved its purpose; it has slowed down the rate of doubling of COVID-19 cases in the country. Medical facilities have been ramped up; standardised protocols put in place. 

During an interaction with the chief ministers through videoconferencing in mid-April, the Prime Minister spoke of ‘jaan bhi, jahan bhi’, a clear departure from the earlier ‘jaan hai to jahan hai’, thus indicating the gradual easing of the lockdown with bolstered economic activity and preparedness measures in place.

As and when that happens, let us keep working to break the chain of transmission - continue to maintain physical distancing; follow hand and respiratory hygiene; disinfect and regularly clean all frequently touched surfaces; wear a face mask whenever stepping out of the house, and download the "AarogyaSetu" app. Stay Safe.

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