India under lockdown for 21 days to fight coronavirus

India under lockdown for 21 days to fight coronavirus

India under lockdown for 21 days to fight coronavirus

In his address to the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that there will be a complete lockdown in the entire country for the next 21 days starting Tuesday midnight. In a televised address he added: "There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes".

The 21-day lockdown is from March 24 midnight to April 14 midnight.

Indian health officials have reported 469 actives cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, and 10 deaths.

But these relatively low totals have not eased the concerns of global health officials, who said Monday that the progress of the pandemic in the coming weeks will be determined to a large degree by India's preparations.

District Magistrates shall deploy executive magistrates as incident commanders to oversee overall implementation of these measures, the Centre said. "So it's really important that India continues to take aggressive action".

Shivaji Park metro station is seen shut in New Delhi on Sunday, March 22, 2020.

But people questioned how the government would keep its promise.

The home affairs ministry eventually clarified that groceries, butchers, banks, pharmacies and other essential businesses would remain open, although online deliveries of goods would be encouraged.

"If we can not manage the next 21 says, many families will be destroyed forever".

Modi's announcement "left a gaping hole", tweeted P. Chidambaram, a former finance minister. "It's just 21 days, stay at home. stay at home. stay at home". This is contrary to the evidence as latest studies show the average rate of transmission (or R0, meaning reproduction number) is around 1.5 to 3.5 meaning that one person can transmit to 1.5 to 3.5 other people on average. Similarly, there was no mention of how households are expected to get basic supplies - more details are awaited and it appears that local authorities will come forward with directions.

South Asia is the world's most densely populated region, while India has an overburdened public health system that suffers from a lack of doctors and hospitals.

Despite reporting its first coronavirus case January 30, the Indian government did not create stockpiles and continued to export medical equipment.

The lockdown measures brought in by Modi were in line with what experts have recommended as necessary for India, though it remains unclear how they will be enforced in a democracy of more than a billion people.

However, India needs to rapidly scale-up its health infra to deal with the pandemic like COVID-19 and the Rs 15,000 crore may not be enough to address the structural problems in the healthcare sysytem.

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