Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday expressed her gratitude towards all those who are at the forefront in the fight against the coronavirus in spite of the limited resources available. In a video message, released hours before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation, Gandhi praised doctors, healthcare and sanitation workers, policemen, as well as the non-profit organisations, who are helping others at the expense of their own safety.

“What can be more patriotic that all of us fighting the pandemic together?” Gandhi asked. “Our coronavirus warriors are fighting this war despite lack of basic safety gear. Doctors, health workers and volunteers are treating patients despite lack of protection kits.”

The Congress chief also acknowledged the policemen and jawans who are on duty to “ensure a successful lockdown”. “Sanitation workers – despite lack of resources – are helping in contain the spread of the coronavirus,” she added. “Government officials, too, are working hard to ensure essential services are available to citizens.”

Citing reports of harassment faced by medical workers and doctors, Gandhi urged citizens to “support them in this fight”. “If we don’t support them, they won’t be able to do their jobs,” she said.

Gandhi also praised the work done on an individual level to provide relief – by feeding the poor, giving away sanitisers and masks, and distributing ration – at the time of crisis. “Every Indian has come together and fulfilled their responsibility to fight this war against corona. All of you must be thanked,” she said.

The Congress chief said the party stands by everyone irrespective of political allegiances. “When the country is fighting such a big battle, I assure you that whether the Congress is in government or in opposition, we are standing with you in this battle everywhere,” she said. “You can contact our central control room or those in the states for help or in time of any need. Congress’ soldier will help in any way they can.”

She urged all citizens to abide to restrictions imposed under the lockdown and adhere to all norms of social distancing.

Modi will address the nation at 10 am on Tuesday and is expected to announce if the lockdown will be extended. Meanwhile, 10 states – Tamil Nadu, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra, Telangana, West Bengal and Karnataka – and the Union Territory of Puducherry have already extended the lockdown, which was scheduled to end on Tuesday, till April 30.

India has so far reported 10,363 coronavirus cases and 339 deaths.

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