Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday asked Indians to light candles and lamps or use mobile flashlights on their balconies for nine minutes at 9 pm on Sunday to mark their fight against the coronavirus. In a video message, the prime minister praised the unprecedented discipline shown by Indians during the nationwide lockdown to contain the pandemic.
In his video message, Modi said the janata curfew, or the people’s curfew on March 22 has become a model that is being emulated by other countries. “Janata curfew and ringing of bells, clanging utensils made the country aware of its unity amid this challenging time,” he added. “We have to move towards light from the darkness created by coronavirus.”
“On Sunday at 9 pm, switch off all your lights at home, stand in your balconies or at the door with candles, or a torch, or diyas or a mobile flashlight and keep these on for nine minutes,” the prime minister said. “This will show we are all fighting together to see the light.”
He, however, urged people to maintain social distancing while lighting up lamps.
Modi praised the public for the “discipline and service” they exhibited during the lockdown which entered the seventh day on Friday. “No force stronger than our spirit and enthusiasm,” he said. He asked people to remember that no one is alone in this battle against Covid-19. “The strength of 130 crores of Indians is with each one of us.”
The prime minister on Thursday held a video conference with chief ministers of all the states and the Union Territories to discuss the coronavirus crisis. Modi said Centre and the states must have a “common exit strategy” for staggered re-entry of population after the three-week nationwide lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus.
He also urged the chief ministers that the collective goal of the country should be to ensure minimum loss of life, according to a press statement on the meeting. “In the next few weeks, testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine should remain the areas of focus,” Modi added.
India has reported 2,069 coronavirus cases so far, and 53 of these people have died, according to the Union health ministry. Several states are still identifying and tracing people linked to a religious event held at the Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi last month. About 9,000 Tablighi Jamaat members and their primary contacts who attended the religious event – that later emerged as an infection hotspot – have been quarantined as of Thursday, the home ministry said.