Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on Sunday through his monthly radio programme Mann ki baat where he underscored the need to enforce the restrictions announced to contain the highly contagious coronavirus.

He said those who are violating the lockdown are “playing with their own lives’. The warning came as the number of COVID-19 positive people rose to 979, with 61 new cases being detected. “People must be wondering what kind of Prime Minister I am But lockdown is the only solution in front of us,” PM Modi said in his monthly radio address Mann ki Baat.

During his radio address to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologised to the people for the “discomfort” caused due to the lockdown. “I hope my country people will forgive me for my sudden decisions. I apologise for all the discomfort that you are facing, but this is the only step that we could have taken to curb the spreading of coronavirus in the country. I apologize for taking these harsh steps which have caused difficulties in your lives, especially the poor people. I know some of you would be angry with me also. But these tough measures were needed to win this battle.” PM Modi said

Tens of thousands of migrant workers and their families on March 28 fought and shoved their way onto buses organised by India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh to get them to their home towns amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many people are still defying lockdown… this is sad…Many people across the world did the same mistake… Those who are defying lockdown are playing with their own lives,” he added.

The country saw the highest spike in COVID-19 cases yesterday – 194 fresh cases were detected over a period of 24 hours, triggering fears of an Italy-like explosion of cases in the future.

The government has said the only way out of a similar crisis was to strictly enforce the lockdown, which the Prime Minister announced last Tuesday.

“Every Indian is locked for now… but we will emerge stronger after the fight,” PM Modi said today.

People, he said, should use this time to “introspect”. “This is the time to infuse new life in your relationships… decrease emotional distance, ” he said underscoring that social distancing should not be confused with “emotional distancing” or ending social interaction.

The Prime Minister also addressed the issue of harassment of medical personnel and those under quarantine, which has been reported from various parts of the country.

It is “not fair to discriminate against those under quarantine”, he said. Such people are following the rules.

“Those providing essential services at this time are risking their lives,” he said. “A large number of people working with e-retailers, those working to keep electricity running, your TV running… are putting their own life to risk… Today, i thank them on behalf of the whole nation,” he added.

He had also apologized to the nation for the “hard decision” – the unprecedented 21-day lockdown announced last week – which, he said, has put people at inconvenience.