India announces coronavirus lockdown for its entire 1.3 BILLION population from midnight
- Indian PM Narendra Modi announced a ‘total ban on venturing out of homes’
- He said India had to face a 21-day health lockdown or be set back by 21 years
- India has reported 482 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nine deaths
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
India has today announced a ‘total lockdown’ in the country of 1.3billion people in the largest stay-at-home order since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Prime minister Narendra Modi announced the ‘total ban on venturing out of your homes’ in a televised address today.
The 21-day lockdown is set to begin at midnight in a measure which Modi says is intended ‘to save India and every Indian’.
He said that if the country failed to manage the next 21 days, it would be set back 21 years.
The measure means that more than 2.6billion people worldwide will be in lockdown from tomorrow morning – half of them in India.
An Indian man watches prime minister Narendra Modi announce a nationwide 21-day lockdown starting at midnight tonight to stop the spread of coronavirus
India has so far reported 482 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nine deaths.
Health experts have warned that a big jump could be imminent, which would overwhelm the country’s underfunded public health infrastructure.
Some researchers have warned that more than a million people in India could be infected with the coronavirus by mid-May.
‘India is today at such a stage, where our actions today will determine our ability to reduce the impact of this disaster,’ Modi said, citing health officals and experts including the WHO for his dire warnings.
Modi called the order a ‘total lockdown’ and did not address whether any service providers would be exempt.
But he said that ‘all steps have been taken by central and state government to ensure supply of essential items.’
‘This is a curfew… We will have to pay economic cost of this, but to save every family member, this is the responsibility of everyone – the biggest priority,’ the prime minister added.
‘If these 21 days are not managed, the country and your family will go back 21 years… I am not saying this as your prime minister, I am saying it as your fellow citizen, family member.’
Cars are stopped at a barrier on the border between Uttar Pradesh and Delhi yesterday after some Indian states instituted their own lockdown measures
A police officer wearing a face mask makes an announcement into a megaphone in Amritsar yesterday
On Monday, India confirmed two more deaths. One was a 54-year-old man with no history of foreign travel, suggesting the start of community transmission of the virus, officials said.
A raft of lockdown measures had already been brought in by individual states, including sealing borders and restricting movement to only essential services.
The government ordered commercial airlines to shut down domestic operations from midnight on Tuesday on top of a ban on international flights to try and contain the coronavirus. About 144million people traveled on domestic flights last year.
Rail travel has already been suspended after thousands of people, mostly migrant workers, swarmed train stations to go home as businesses shut down.
Before Modi’s announcement today, officials had warned that people were not obeying government warnings to stay indoors.
Nepal has ordered all land border crossings with India and China shut until March 29 in order to keep the contagion at bay.
The Himalayan nation said thousands of people, most of them Nepali migrant workers, had crossed into Nepal in recent days from India, believing their homeland to be safer.
Nepal reported its second case of the coronavirus on Monday, a citizen who had recently returned from France.
An empty railway station in Mumbai as prime minister Narendra Modi announced a national lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus
A health worker wearing a yellow protective suit carries out disinfection work outside a mosque in Hyderabad, India