NEW DELHI (AP) — India cricket captain Virat Kohli and his Bollywood actress wife Anushka Sharma have posted a video message to their compatriots urging them to stay at home for the next three weeks in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The country of 1.3 billion went into lockdown on Wednesday, and so the power couple just wanted to spread the word.
Kohli and actress Sharma have a combined 55 million followers on Twitter, and posted their joint message on the platform.
“These are testing times and we need to wake up to the seriousness of this situation,” Kohli said in the message recorded in Hindi. “Please let us all follow what’s been told to us and stand united please. It’s a plea to everyone. Stay at home and save your family from coronavirus,”
The couple said it will take time to combat the pandemic and people should adhere to the government’s call for a curfews and a lock down for 21 days.
“If you show carelessness, the whole nation will have to pay a heavy price,” Kohli said. “For 21 days India has to stay at home and save the Indian nation.”
Together, the couple say: “Show your unity, save lives and your country.”
Cricket and Bollywood are two of India’s great national institutions.
All cricket in the country has been suspended, including the lucrative Indian Premier League which attracts some of the best players from around the world.
India’s unprecedented lock down was aimed at keeping the virus from spreading and overwhelming its fragile health care system as it has done in parts of Europe, where infections were still surging.
India has about 450 cases of the virus, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned that if he didn’t act now it could set the country back decades.
More than 423,000 people worldwide have been infected and nearly 19,000 have died, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.