Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said violence, abuse and rude behaviour towards frontline workers combating the coronavirus crisis will not be tolerated, NDTV reported. He was speaking via videoconferencing during the inauguration of silver jubilee celebrations of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Bengaluru.

“At the root of India’s brave fight against Covid-19 is the hard work of the medical community and our corona warriors,” Modi said. “In fact, doctors and medical workers are like soldiers, but without the soldiers’ uniforms. I want to state it clearly. Violence, abuse and rude behaviour against front-line workers is not acceptable.”

The prime minister said the world is looking up to India’s doctors, nurses, medical staff and scientific community “with hope and gratitude”, the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted. “The world seeks both ‘care’ and ‘cure’ from you,” he said.

Modi added that while the coronavirus may be an “invisible enemy”, India’s medical workers are “invincible”. “In the battle of Invisible vs Invincible, our medical workers are sure to win,” he asserted.

The Centre had on May 30 announced a phased reopening of the country, following a nine-week lockdown to limit the spread of Covid-19. During the first phase, christened “Unlock 1”, the Centre announced that hotels and restaurants, shopping malls and places of worship will reopen from June 8. Subsequently, most states unveiled their own relaxations, based on their estimates about the spread of the virus.

On Sunday, in his monthly “Mann ki Baat” address, Modi had stressed the need to be even more careful, as the country begins to reopen. “We have to keep in mind that the situation does not deteriorate in the coming times,” he said. Whether it is the rule of keeping ‘do gaj ki doori’ [physical distance of 6 feet] from each other, wearing masks, staying at home as much as possible, all these should be followed strictly.”

The coronavirus has infected 1,90,535 people in India so far, and killed 5,394, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. India is now the seventh-most affected country in the world.

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