Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra posted a handwashing video on Twitter today
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra encouraged people to take small but necessary steps to fight the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, including washing one's hands frequently and thoroughly and not believing or participating in the spread of rumours about the virus.
In a 60-second video posted on Twitter, she demonstrated the handwashing technique that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged people to follow and said: "Most importantly, do not worry. We are all in this situation and we will fight coronavirus as one".
"Are you taking small but necessary precautions? These steps will help you fight the coronavirus outbreak and emerge victorious," Mrs Gandhi Vadra said, adding, "You must also remember not to believe in false news or rumours about the virus. Do not spread false news or rumours also".
"Let us all be responsible citizens and make it our mission to spread awareness about coronavirus and how to beat it," she added.
क्या आप छोटी-छोटी सावधानियां बरत रहे हैं? आपकी ये सावधानियां कोरोना वायरस के खिलाफ लड़ाई को मजबूत करेंगी।
जागरूक नागरिक की तरह सावधानियों को अपने जीवन का हिस्सा बनाएं और इसके बारे में जागरूकता फैलाएं।#SafeHandspic.twitter.com/hlhQ1gysWb
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) March 21, 2020
Overall nearly 290 people have been infected by COVID-19 in the country, with at least four deaths linked to the virus. Worldwide nearly 10,000 people have died and over 2.3 lakh have been infected.
In response to the crisis the government has shut international borders and suspended incoming international flights for a week starting Sunday. State governments have reacted by closing public spaces like shopping malls, cinemas and restaurants.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has repeatedly called for social distancing and encouraged people to practice proper cough/sneeze hygiene at this time, has called for a "Janata (public) curfew" starting 7 am Sunday in a bid to stop the chain of transmission.
State governments have backed the call by shutting public transportation, in some measure at least.
Some other politicians have also sought to offer counsel at this time, but it has ranged from unusual to bizarre.
On Thursday BJP leader and Union Minister Ashwini Choubey claimed that sitting in the midday sun for 15 minutes could "improve immunity and kill coronavirus". Earlier this month an Assam BJP legislator asserted that cow urine and cow dung could be used to cure those infected by COVID-19.
On Wednesday police in Bengal said a BJP activist had been arrested because a volunteer fell ill after drinking cow urine during a party event.
Meanwhile, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra isn't the only political leader to have made a video demonstrating the WHO-approved handwashing technique.
Earlier this week Bengal MP Nusrat Jahan posted a similar video. Unfortunately her effort was criticised by Twitter users for wasting water; she kept the tap open while soaping her hands.
Mrs Gandhi Vadra may have learnt from that incident – she kept the tap closed in her video.
Kerala Police also put out a video advising people to wash hands regularly. They did so with the help of a comical dance that left social media users hugely amused.
The novel coronavirus can spread through tiny droplets if an infected person coughs and sneezes. Public health officials and organisations recommend washing hands thoroughly and properly at regular intervals, along with practicing social distancing, as preventive measures against COVID-19.