Coronavirus: Take lockdown 'seriously', says PM Modi

Clay Curtis
March 23, 2020

India has announced that it is stopping domestic flights and said the majority of the country was under complete lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus as the number of people dying from the disease increased across south Asia.

Residents living in 75 districts across the country, including in major cities such as the capital New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, and Kolkata have been placed under travel, work and movement restrictions until March 31. At least 80 districts across the country were put under lockdown to slow the spread of coronavirus, which has killed over 14,000 people and infected more than three lakh globally.

India so far has 341 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, as per the Health Ministry, while four people have died due to the highly contagious virus.

The lockdown means means only essential services will be allowed.

Narendra Modi, the prime minister, said many Indians were not taking the lockdown seriously.

"Please save yourself and your family by following the rules seriously. I urge state governments to ensure that the rules and guidelines are adhered to", tweeted the PM.

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Sites are also being identified for quarantine and self-isolation for people who can not self-isolate at home. President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that a countrywide lockdown will come into effect on Thursday.

"States have been asked to strictly enforce the lockdown in the areas where it has been announced".

Faced with unprecedented situation arising out of the coronavirus breakout, the Center and state governments have made a decision to take extraordinary measures and impose restrictions.

Uddhav Thackeray, the chief minister of the western state of Maharashtra, which has had the highest number of coronavirus cases in India, ordered a curfew from Tuesday to force people indoors.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court directed all states and UTs to set up high-level committees to determine class of prisoners who could be released on parole, in a bid to decongest prisons to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Newspapers canceled print runs in Mumbai after vendors refused to distribute them due to worry about the coronavirus, which emerged in China late past year and has spread around the world. "COVID-19 is a lifetime challenge and it needs to be tackled through new and innovative solutions" Modi said.

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