Busy streets of India turned idle, congested roads went empty, the always active cities put silent mode on, and billions locked up inside the house as these eerie and unseen emptinesses have been signaling the effect of the nationwide lockdown declared by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The lockdown has come to force from Tuesday midnight and this unprecedented experiment would remain in place for the next 21 days as the country is war-footing to combat the Coronavirus, which has been labeled as the global pandemic.
In his second televised address to the nation in a week in the wake of the outbreak, Prime Minister Modi has imposed the nationwide lockdown, taking the partial shutdowns that were in place in major cities to every corner of the country with its fullest form as the country has been reporting with the rampant spread of the virus. Modi affirmed that the complete lockdown could be the only way to break the chain and to contain the spread. In his address that lasted for 30 minutes, he appealed to the people to remain calm and not to panic and he warned that the more the people stay outside the higher the risk they invite to their families and he stated that if people fail to observe self-isolation, it would lead the nation to witness large devastations.
By placing nearly one-fifth of the world's population under lockdown, Modi said that the decision has been taken to save India, to save its citizens. He called on the people to maintain social distancing as he claimed the measure is the only way to break the cycle of infection. According to the reports, the Central government asserted that the essential services would be functioning normally amid the lockdown. Modi advised the people with folded hands not to step out of the house as the nation is gripping up its fight against the virus. He stated that the lockdown has been imposed concerning the rapid spread of the virus.
He highlighted the figures from WHO which revealed that it took 67 days to mark 1,00,000 cases for the virus while the virus needed eleven days to hit 2,00,000 and it just took four days to reach 3,00,000 cases worldwide. The Prime Minister divulged that Rs 15,000 crore has been allotted to install coronavirus testing facilities, protective equipment, beds, ventilators, and other infrastructure.
What would function normally during the lockdown?
- According to the Central government, the treasury, defense, central armed police forces, public utilities - petroleum, LPG services, power generation, and transmission units, post offices, disaster management, National Information Center, Early warning agencies would be functioning normally.
- As per the notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Hospitals and the medical establishments including the manufacturing and distribution units, public, and private sector dispensaries, medical equipment shops across the country would remain open.
- Essential shops supplying food, groceries (including rations shops under Public Distribution Scheme), fruits and vegetable shops, meat and dairy products would be functioning and laboratories, clinics, nursing homes, ambulances, and emergency vehicles would be available.
- The lockdown won't affect the movements of all medical personnel including nurses and para-medical staff. Banks, insurance offices and ATMs would offer their services so does the print and electronic media, internet, broadcasting, and cable services.
- The fuel stations, LPG and gas retail and storage outlets would remain open. Warehousing services and private security services would also be functioning. The Hotels, lodges, motels, and homestays that are accomodating the people who are trapped due to lockdown can function and these people include medical, emergency, air and sea crew and the quarantine facilities that are established to isolate the affected people can function.
- The district administrations, prisons, treasury, electricity board, water and sanitation services, municipal bodies, and the essential services would be playing their roles normally in the states.
Beware, these services won't be functioning until the lockdown remains in place.
- Commercial and private establishments including malls, shopping complexes, theaters, recreational clubs, parks, bars, and all sorts of private establishments that are non-essential would be closed and the employees of IT and private companies have been advised to work from home.
- Industrial establishments would remain closed.
- Hospitality services will shut down along with educational, training, research, coaching institutions shall remain closed.
- The transports channels including air, rail, and roadways have been suspended and all worship sites would be closed for public and the religious congregations are strictly restricted.
- All social, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions would be prohibited. Funerals and congregations with not more than twenty people would be permitted.
- All these services won't be available until April 14th.
By converging around shops, you are risking the spread of COVID-19.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 24, 2020
No panic buying please.
Please stay indoors.
I repeat- Centre and State Governments will ensure all essentials are available. https://t.co/bX00az1h7l
Modi's announcement has come hours after some of the Indian states including Tamil Nadu had imposed curfew under section 144 across the territory to contain the spread of the virus. In the tweet that he winged an hour after his address, Modi reiterated his stand and appealed to the people to stay indoors and assured that all the essential services would be available across the country. As of Wednesday, India has reported with 562 positive cases and ten deaths due to the pandemic and the country has been speeding up the measures to cut off the roots of the virus and to contain the spread.