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Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi:Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sought the nation's forgiveness for imposing a monumental lockdown on the country, but said "we have to win ... and we will definitely win the battle" against the unprecedented menace of coronavirus that has claimed 25 lives in India so far.

In his monthly Mann ki Baat radio address to the nation, Modi also praised the front-line workers in the fight against the virus as well as countless workers in the essential services who are ensuring the country doesn't come to a complete standstill in the 21-day lockdown announced on March 24.

"I seek forgiveness .. I am sure you will forgive me that you had to undergo so much trouble. Some people will say what kind of prime minister is this but these are special circumstances. You had to undergo problems I understand but there is no other way out to fight the coronavirus," he said. "But this is a battle for life and death."

"Coronavirus is bent on killing people therefore entire humanity must unite and resolve to eliminate it," he said in the address that lasted more than 30 minutes and featured two former coronavirus patients and a doctor.

Modi reminded people that "we have to maintain social distance, not emotional and human distance" as he urged people to utilise the time spent at home in re-engaging themselves in old hobbies an reconnecting wit old friends.

He further said, "The battle against COVID-19 is a tough one and it did require such harsh decisions to keep the people of India safe."

He also spoke to people who had suffered from the virus attack and had recovered. He asked them to take their stories forward. He spoke to doctors and asked them how they were dealing with the attack.

For the first time since India went into the lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Modi presented his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat'. The programme had invited suggestions from individuals.

(PTI)

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