Threat of coronavirus far from over, stay vigilant, PM Modi tells India

As coronavirus cases continue to rise, PM Narendra Modi advises India not to lower guard and to stay ‘extra vigilant’ and ‘fully cautious’.
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India's COVID-19 recovery rate is better compared to other countries and its case fatality rate is much less as well, but the threat of the deadly virus is far from over, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday.

In his monthly Mann ki Baat radio address, he also said that at many places, the virus was spreading fast and people needed to be extra vigilant.

"The threat of the coronavirus is far from being over. At many places, it is spreading fast. We need to be extra vigilant. We have to bear in mind that the coronavirus is as fatal today as it was in the beginning. That is why we have to be fully cautious," PM Modi said.

He also urged citizens to take a pledge of freedom from the pandemic on August 15, when the country celebrates Independence Day. India, which now has over 13 lakh cases, is the third worst-hit country in the global coronavirus tally after the US and Brazil.

Effective endeavours in rural areas

The prime minister said amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, India's rural regions came up as beacons of guidance for the entire country.

Many examples of effective endeavours on part of local residents of villages and gram panchayats were coming to the fore, Modi said, giving the example of people who came forward to help others amid the health crisis.

“Over the last few months, the way the country fought against the coronavirus unitedly has proved many apprehensions wrong. Today, the recovery rate in our country is better compared to other countries. The mortality rate in the context of COVID-19 in our country is much less as well, compared to most countries," the prime minister said.

"Of course, the loss of even one life is saddening, but India has also succeeded in saving the lives of lakhs of people," he added.

'Think of Corona Warriors'

Wearing a face mask, using a 'gamchcha' or a cloth to cover the face, two yards of distancing, frequently washing hands, avoiding spitting in public places and taking full care of hygiene and sanitation were our weapons to protect ourselves from the virus, he noted.

There are times, Modi said, when masks caused inconvenience and one felt like removing them, especially during a conversation.

“When a mask is required the most, we tend to remove it. At such times, I urge you that whenever you feel your mask is bothersome and you want to remove it, spare a thought for doctors and nurses. You will find them wearing masks for hours together, diligently working to save our lives ... sometimes wearing masks for a span of eight to 10 hours. Doesn't that discomfort them? Just think about them," he said.

Once people think of Corona Warriors, they too will feel that as citizens, neither they should be negligent nor let others be so, the prime minister said.

“On the one hand, we have to fight the battle against the coronavirus with full awareness and, on the other, whatever our responsibilities - business, jobs, or studies - through sheer perseverance we have to lend pace to them, taking them to greater heights,” Modi said.

With 48,661 people testing positive for the coronavirus infection in a day, India's COVID-19 tally climbed to 13,85,522 on Sunday, while recoveries mounted to 8,85,576, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The country's death toll rose to 32,063 with 705 fatalities being recorded in a day, the ministry's data updated at 8 am showed.

There are 4,67,882 active cases of the coronavirus infection currently in the country. Thus, around 63.92 per cent people have recovered so far, it stated.

A positive approach

The prime minister observed that a correct and a positive approach always went a long way in transforming distressing times into opportunities, and adversities into triggers of development and progress.

He said amid the COVID-19 pandemic, youth and women came up with new experiments on the basis of their talent and skills.

Modi gave the example of Bihar, Jharkhand, and the Northeast where people used local resources and their skills to make products that created employment opportunities.

In Bihar, many women self-help groups have started making masks with 'Madhubani' motifs and they have turned out to be very popular, he said.”These 'Madhubani' masks, in a way, propagate a regional tradition; besides protecting health, they also create opportunities for livelihood," the prime minister said.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)