Addressing the country after almost a day of intense speculation regarding what he would say, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening advised Indians to follow the guidelines of general precaution in order to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
Stressing on resolve and restraint, while asking the citizens to follow "Janata Curfew" from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday, he said: "Our experience of Janata Curfew will help us chart the way ahead for tackling coronavirus in India".
Modi said most people, except those in essential services, would have to stay home for several weeks, without giving a timeframe.
"Even World War I and II did not affect as many countries as coronavirus has done", Modi said in a national broadcast.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday requested all Indians to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid getting infected by coronavirus.
The government says there have been 173 infections and four deaths from the virus. This means imposing a self-curfew.
The Prime Minister also announced the setting up of an Economic Response Task Force to gauge the impact of the pandemic on the economy and guide the economy through tough times.
The citizens of the country are requested to honor the corona warriors on the day of curfew at 5 PM for at least 5 minutes by applauding their courage, zeal, and enthusiasm; elder people and senior citizens are requested not to go out.
In a televised address to the nation, he further he added that no one apart from those involved with essential services such as health, government services, sanitation and media, are supposed to venture out of home.
"The festival of Navratri is coming in a few days". The prime minister urged the citizens to give up the attitude that the virus can not affect them, and advocated the efficacy of social distancing. "I request local administration to blow a siren to inform everyone about this", PM Modi said during his almost 30-minute address.
The government also said that people should be sensitised on appropriate use of masks which should be utilised only when needed and to wash hands with soap.
Modi said the task force will ensure that all steps are taken to reduce the economic difficulties and the measures are effectively implemented.
The announcement was preceded by a government advisory banning all worldwide flights to India for a week starting on Sunday.
All citizens above 65 and children under 10 were advised by the Prime Minister to remain at home.