New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a 21-day lockdown from today midnight as the government stepped up its efforts to contain the ongoing coronavirus pandemic across the country. Also Read - PM Modi’s Speech Today on Coronavirus: ‘Rs 15,000 Crore Allotted For Coronavirus Testing Facilities’

Today’s address to the nation, notably, was the Prime Minister’s second in less than a week as the number of positive cases across the country spiked to 519, including nine deaths.

Stressing on the need to observe social distancing, the Prime Minister repeatedly said that while such a long lockdown will indeed be inconvenient, the priority was to save people’s lives. He also acknowledged that a lockdown of this duration would come at a cost on the economic front, but ‘not following this 21-day lockdown will take us back by 21 years.’

He said that failure of countries like the US, France and Italy in controlling the pandemic showed that once the virus started spreading, it was difficult to contain it. He particularly emphasised on the fact that while it took 67 days for the virus to infect its first one lakh patients, it took just 11 days to affect the next one lakh and a further lakh in just three days.

He also assured the people that all esssential services would be available during the period of the lockdown and requested them to thank all those who were battling everyday to save the citizens from the coronavirus pandemic.