Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 announced a 21-day lockdown in the entire country to contain the spread of deadly Coronavirus, saying that “social distancing” is the only option to deal with the disease, which spreads rapidly. “For the next 21 days, forget about stepping out of home,” said the PM in a televised address to the nation. He said it was vital to break the chain of the disease.
The Prime Minister said the lockdown meant a “Lakshman Rekha” in every home and if people crossed it, they would invite the virus. “If we don’t handle these 21 days well, then our country, your family will go backwards by 21 years,” he said.
Soon after Modi decreed the lockdown, people in metropolitan cities were seen making long queues wearing masks to stock up the essentials.
As states shut their borders, long queues of trucks carrying milk, fruits and vegetables snaked down highways, even after PM has assured about the essential services would be maintained countrywide.
There were reports of prices plunging nearly 50% for all essentials as the demand increased all of a sudden, vegetable vendors selling at nearly double the prices which they were selling before PM’s speech on Tuesday evening.
India has reported total number of confirmed Coronavirus cases about 606 including 10 deaths so far, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research. This include 553 active cases while 42 infected people have already been cured or discharged.
The world’s largest shutdown began on Wednesday with concerns about essential supplies and services. “Forget about stepping out of your homes for the next 21 days,” PM Modi said in the address to the nation. Health experts have warned of an explosion of infections if harsh steps are not taken.
In India, the Maharashtra state government is facing one of its worst ever public health crisis in recent history in the form of the Coronavirus pandemic. The state has reported total 122 positive cases of COVID-19 including 4 deaths so far.