05:59 GMT14 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): India, a country of over 1.3 billion people, is experiencing the longest lockdown in its history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a second phase of the lockdown, extending it until 3 May.

    The world’s second most followed leader on social media, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is leading the nation by setting an example of using masks as personal protection from coronavirus infection.

    On Tuesday, after his fourth televised address to the nation since the outbreak of COVID-19, Modi changed his profile picture on social media, with a desi "gamcha", or traditional scarf.  

    Immediately thereafter, Modi's followers on social media also changed their profile pictures to ones with face masks. 


    National President of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Jagat Prakash Nadda and Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan have also changed their display picture, following in the footsteps of prime minister.

    In his fourth address to the nation in less than a month, Modi began his speech by greeting citizens with Namaskar, or folded hands, with a white coloured "gamcha", or scarf, covering his face. He later lowered the scarf to begin his speech.

    Gamcha is a long piece of cotton cloth for towel-like usage, commonly used by men in rural areas. It is wrapped around the neck or head, mostly by farmers and labourers to escape the extreme heat.  

    Modi has been promoting the usage of handmade masks instead of professional medical masks to promote face covering to fight the virus.

    According to the federal Health and Family Welfare Ministry, there are over 10,000 cases in the country as of Tuesday, while 1,035 people have recovered and 339 people lost their lives to the virus. 


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