Published On: Tue, Mar 24th, 2020

India coronavirus lockdown: PM Modi orders 1.3billion to stay at home for three weeks | UK | News

Mr Modi has announced starting at midnight tonight, the country will be required to spend 21 days on lockdown. On Twitter Mr Modi said: “Tonight from 12 o’clock across the country, the entire lockdown is going to happen.” In a televised address he added: “There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes.”

“The only way to save ourselves from coronavirus is if we don’t leave our homes, whatever happens, we stay at home

“India is today at such a stage, where our actions today will determine our ability to reduce the impact of this disaster.”

India has so far reported 482 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and nine deaths.

Health researchers have warned that more than a million people in India could be infected with the coronavirus by mid-May, prompting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to shut down all air and train travel, businesses and schools.

Already health officials said the virus was spreading out of big Indian cities where it first appeared into the small towns that dot the landscape.

A health official in the western state of Maharashtra who declined to be identified, saying he was not authorised to speak to journalists, said: “This trend is worrying as rural areas have limited infrastructure to deal with the outbreak.”

More than 377,300 people have been infected by the coronavirus globally and 16,520 have died as of today.

Neighbouring Nepal has invoked a 56-year-old law, ordering a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus after reporting a second case in the Himalayan nation of 30 million people.

It shut its borders with India and China earlier in the week after a large number of people, mostly Nepali migrant workers, were reportedly trying to rush back home from India.

Earlier on Monday, police in the Indian capital broke up the longest-running protest against a new citizenship law, citing a ban on public gatherings because of the coronavirus.

Dozens of people, many of them women, had been staging a sit-in protest since early December on a street in the Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood, turning it into a focal point for opposition to the law seen as discriminating against Muslims.

Hundreds of police in riot gear surrounded the protesters and told them to leave, said Delhi’s joint police commissioner DC Srivastava.

He told reporters: “It is a dangerous environment, with this coronavirus.”

China’s Wuhan, where the virus emerged, imposed a two-month lockdown which is only now being eased.

Across South Asia, home to a quarter of the world’s population, authorities are scrambling to raise their defences as the virus spreads.

(More to follow)

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