Saturday, 04 April, 2020

India announces coronavirus lockdown for its entire 1.3 BILLION population from midnight

About three-quarters of the country was under lockdown on Tuesday with most of the rest expected to follow suit by the end of the day India extends lockdown as coronavirus appears in small towns
Gustavo Carr | 25 March, 2020, 08:40

Prime minister Narendra Modi announced the "total ban on venturing out of your homes" in a televised address today.

As cases of the viral infection surged, authorities have put nearly the entire country under lockdown, banning gathering of people and suspending road, rail and air traffic till March 31.

Speaking at press briefing in Geneva on Monday, WHO Emergencies Programme Director Mike Ryan had said that it was important for India to ramp up measures at public health and societal level to control and suppress the disease.

India still has a relatively small number of detected cases relative to the size of its population, but if there's been one lesson from countries like China, Italy, Spain, and Iran, it's that governments must enforce social distancing early on to prevent the spread of the disease.

Health researchers have warned more than a million people in India could be infected with the coronavirus by mid-May, which prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to shut down all air and train travel, businesses and schools.

Pharmacies and grocery stores saw people queuing up even as a lockdown was already in place in several parts of the country, including the capital, New Delhi. "If we are not able to manage the next 21 days, then many families will be destroyed forever".

By converging around shops, you are risking the spread of COVID-19, the prime minister further said.

Modi's speech was criticised for not mentioning access to food and groceries or relief measures for poor Indians, whose means of income would be jeopardised by the lockdown. Not more than 20 people are allowed in case of a funeral.

WHO Issues Bleak Warning: U.S. Could Potentially Be Next Coronavirus Epicenter
They [the US] have a very large outbreak and an outbreak that is increasing in intensity", Harris added. She added: "We can not say that is the case yet but it does have that potential".

Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said a comprehensive relief package would be announced soon.

The lockdown came even though Indian health officials, defying the views of worldwide experts, have denied that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was not being transmitted within the community.

"What we're doing is buying precious time through good old-fashioned isolation and quarantine", said Gagandeep Kang, a medical virologist and director of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute, Faridabad (Haryana).

Modi also pledged $2 billion to help the country's healthcare system prepare for the virus. We have made provisions to ensure that supplies of all essential items continue smoothly.

"Asking people to stay at home is necessary, but that won't be enough for the majority of the population who can not afford to sit at home without work and pay". "And it will be too late".

-Government and private offices will remain closed.

Rise Against Hunger India, a charity, said the shutdowns would erase the livelihoods of low-income workers who "are now under the threat of dying from hunger".

"Some people are under the misconception that social distancing is only necessary for sick people". "If the virus is not contained, Mumbai is a volcano waiting to erupt".