PM Modi looks at ‘quarantine’ while extending lockdown to 3 May
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown for another 19 days, the decision left many speculating about the reason for opting for this period. Some were expecting the extension till 30 April, as many states had declared, while others thought it would be fixed in terms of weeks — for two or three weeks. Many people speculated on social media that it was because 1 May is May Day and hence a government holiday; 2 May is a Saturday and 3 May, a Sunday.
But the grapevine has it that the idea was to keep the lockdown for a complete 40 days —including 21 days of the first phase — and hence it was extended till 3 May. The word ‘Quarantine’ comes from the word ‘quarantena’ (Venetian language spoken by people of Venice, Italy) which means ‘forty days’ and hence it was decided to keep the lockdown for a full 40 days, if one were to believe the buzz in the corridors of power.
An official said that this word came into use during the Black Death plague epidemic, when all ships arriving in Venice were required to be isolated before the passengers and the crew disembarked.
Why Modi is unhappy with media’s coverage of his govt’s Covid-19 response
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is disappointed over how the Indian media continued to praise the Chinese for containing the spread of Covid-19 effectively, even though it was China from where the worldwide epidemic first emerged. While the Indian government was one of the countries to implement a complete lockdown with a small number of cases, the media was unjustly praising the Chinese, he was learnt to have said at a meeting with senior officials last week.
He also felt that the media overlooked the Indian government’s own efforts in containing the coronavirus threat, according to officials privy to the deliberations.
Last month, the PM had emphasised the role of the media in tackling “the spread of pessimism, negativity and rumour mongering”. In a statement issued after meeting 20 editors of media houses, the PM had urged the media to act as a link between the government and the people in the time of this crisis. “Citizens need to be assured that the government is committed to countering the impact of Covid-19,” the statement had said.