India’s PM looks to boost country’s morale

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To bolster morale and spirit, India’s prime minister urges the country’s 1.3 billion people to switch off lights of their home for nine minutes Sunday night and light candles, lamps and even use mobile torches standing in their balconies.

In a video message broadcast Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said such a gesture will dispel the darkness created by the coronavirus and show that people are together in their fight against the epidemic.

He said social distancing was the only way to break the chain of coronavirus, which has so far claimed 53 lives in India with 1,860 positive cases.

Modi ordered a three-week lockdown across the country on March 24 to stop a massive outbreak of coronavirus infections.

On Friday, he acknowledged the hardships caused by the world’s biggest shutdown to millions of people who have been left jobless and forced tens of thousands of migrants workers to flee to their villages for food and shelter.

Indian officials have repeatedly insisted there is no evidence yet of community spread, but have conducted relatively scant testing for the disease in a country where tens of millions live in dense urban areas with irregular access to clean water.

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