Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, has declared a lockdown across the country. This measure is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection in India, where 1.3 billion people live.
The complete containment of the coronavirus disease will start on March 25 and last until April 21, Prime Minister Modi announced in a televised speech on the night of March 24.
Before asking its citizens to stay home, the Indian government had put strict measures in place. For instance, it had paused domestic passenger flights and all international flights.
In India, 519 confirmed cases have occurred, 10 of which have resulted in death. On March 25, the cumulative number of coronavirus patients in the world exceeded 400,000, and the death toll exceeded 17,000.
Is it possible to completely block 1.3 billion people in India?
In today’s televised speech, Prime Minister Modi announced that “to save India and to save the people of India, we must block every street and every neighborhood.” He warned that India’s economy could “retreat 21 years if the crisis couldn’t respond 21 days … You’ll see the economic damage, but it’s up to us all.”
Shortly after Prime Minister Modi’s speech, people in India’s capital city Delhi and other large cities poured out on the streets, trying to stockpile emergency food and other necessities.
Along with the lockdown, all shops and offices closed except for essential services such as hospitals. Schools and universities also closed, and all meetings are prohibited. Violations can result in imprisonment for up to two years or heavy fines.
On March 22, Prime Minister Modi had issued a lockdown on state and federal offices in 548 districts. Measures that locked down nearly two-thirds of India have now spread across the country.
Impact of lockdown in India due to coronavirus
India’s lockdown is likely to have sociocultural impact as well as economic, according to The Diplomat.
Unlike many countries that the virus has affected, the case of India presents unique concerns owing to its geographical vastness and the complexity of its cultural and religious diversity, beliefs, and practices coexisting with poor social indicators, such as lower life expectancy, higher fertility, and high child mortality.
Wide illiteracy, poverty, poor sanitary conditions, open defecation and manual scavenging further add to its woes. These health and social indicators underscore the gravity of the situation that can worsen conditions in the face of a massive community outbreak. All of this demonstrates the glaring reality of a vulnerable population that can potentially worsen the situation.
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