One year of Janta curfew: When Indians stayed home for 14 hours
New Delhi, Mar 22: It was exactly a year ago, on March 19, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had asked all Indians to stay home to observe 'Janta Curfew' between 7 am and 9pm to fight the rapidly-spreading coronavirus.
He had called for 'Janta curfew' on March 22 from 7 am-9 pm. PM Modi, however, clarified that esential services like police, media, medical services etc will not come under the purview of the curfew.
The Janta Curfew was seen as a way to prepare the Indian citizens for a lockdown.
In his address to the nation, Prime Minister had asked people to sacrifice "some weeks of yours, some time of yours", given that coronavirus had no cure yet, the only way to stay safe is to stay indoors.
"I request all people in the country to get out of the house only when it is extremely necessary, try and do all work from home," he said.
Following the Janta curfew announcement, on March 24, PM Modi announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. Later, it was extended thrice, with the final phase beginning on May 18, and concluding on May 31. From June 1 onwards, the country started reopening gradually, in what was termed as 'Unlock.'
However, a year later, in the present scenario, India is racing to contain a second wave of the coronavirus with an increase in the daily cases upto 46,000 cases in the last 24 hours after several months of a declining trend.
But this time, there are vaccines available and there is also a better understanding of how to treat the disease. Experts are also calling for a massive scale-up in the immunization programme to protect the vulnerable.
It should be noted that the COVID-19 numbers in India are still relatively low in most parts of the country and the rise is still very slow.
Since India's coronavirus numbers maintained an almost steady decline after crossing the peak, the widespread notion was that the worst was over.
Meanwhile, if there is steady increase in the number of active cases as they now are, the country's health care system may be stretched by the double burden of managing the sick and vaccinating the healthy.