Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1 May said that violence, abuse and rude behaviour towards frontline workers combating the coronavirus epidemic would not be tolerated. “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 was speaking via video-conferencing after inaugurating the silver jubilee celebrations of Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Bengaluru.
The country has, Modi said, seen rapid progress in setting up 22 more AIIMS. “Over the last five years, we have been able to add over 30,000 seats in MBBS and 15,000 seats in post-graduation,” Modi said. He also condemned violence against frontline workers during his address.
”I want to state it clearly, violence, abuse and rude behaviour against front-line workers is not acceptable,” Modi said.
The prime minister added that while the coronavirus might 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.
On 30 May, the union government had 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 government announced that hotels and restaurants, shopping malls and places of worship would reopen from 8 June. Subsequently, most states unveiled their own relaxations, based on their estimates about the spread of the virus.
On 31 May, 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 gaz ki dūri’ from each other, wearing masks, staying at home as much as possible, all these should be followed strictly.”
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.