India in 21-day lockdown
India will be in a complete lockdown from Wednesday morning for three weeks in an intensified effort to arrest the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The sweeping measure, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a nationwide television address to the people, came as infections of COVID-19 spiked to 519 at the time of writing.
"To save India, to save every Indian, there will be a complete ban on people from stepping outside their houses from 12 midnight" on Tuesday night, the Prime Minister said. "Lockdown is being imposed on every state, union territory, district, village and street," he added.
India has a population of about 1.3 billion, making such a lockdown one of the biggest confinement of people in the history of humankind.
Modi warned that any negligence in these 21 days will "push the country and your families by 21 years," citing the experience of countries, which acted early and were able to contain the virus to some extent. There have been 10 deaths from the disease in India and 22 cases of full recovery so far.
Meanwhile, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a package of regulatory and compliance measures across economic sectors to minimise the hardships being faced as a result of disruptions from the pandemic.
On Tuesday, India’s Directorate General of Foreign Trade banned the export of all types of ventilators, respiratory apparatus, oxygen therapy equipment, breathing appliances and sanitisers with immediate effect in view of rising domestic requirements for these items. It supplements a ban imposed last week on surgical and disposable masks as well as textile raw material used for making masks.
On Monday, March 23rd, India suspended all domestic flights, trains and inter-state bus services. Cities like New Delhi and Mumbai also suspended metro trains while keeping skeleton bus services for essential staff.
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