Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday claimed that the nationwide lockdown and initiatives taken by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has helped India tackle the coronavirus crisis better than other countries. The prime minister made the comments while addressing the 90th birthday celebrations of Reverend Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan in Kerala’s Pathanamthitta district via video conference.

“You would be happy to know that powered by our corona warriors, India is firmly fighting coronavirus,” Modi said. “Earlier this year, some people had predicted that the impact of the virus in India would be very severe. Due to lockdown, many initiatives taken by the government and a people-driven fight, India is much better placed than many other nations. India’s recovery rate is rising.”

However, the prime minister warned people to not let their guards down yet. “In fact, we have to be even more careful now,” he said. “Wearing masks, following social distancing, avoiding crowded places remain important.”

Modi claimed that his government did not take decisions from “comfortable government offices in Delhi” but consulted feedback of the people.

A record 18,552 new coronavirus cases were reported in 24 hours, according to the health ministry’s data on Saturday morning. This has taken India’s total cases to 5.08 lakh, with over 15,600 deaths.

With cases crossing the five-lakh mark, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said the government has no plan to tackle the outbreak. “Covid19 is spreading rapidly into new parts of the country,” he tweeted. “GOI [Government of India] has no plan to defeat it. Prime Minister is silent. He has surrendered and is refusing to fight the pandemic.”

India is the fourth worst-hit nation after the United States, Brazil and Russia in case count.

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