India has announced a 21-day “total lockdown” for the country’s 1.3 billion people. The lockdown is the biggest stay-at-home order in the world amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The “total ban on venturing out of your homes” was announced by Prime minister Narendra Modi on television on Tuesday according to Daily Mail.
Modi noted that the lockdown is planned to begin at midnight on Tuesday “to save India and every Indian.” He added that if the country could not properly manage the next 21 days, they could be set back 21 years.
Tomorrow morning there will be 2.6 billion people on lockdown throughout the world—half of them in India.
So far, there have been 482 confirmed cases of coronavirus reported in India, along with nine deaths.
With the country’s underfunded health system, experts warn that a big jump may be imminent. Some researchers have also estimated that over one million Indian people could contract COVID-19 by mid-May.
“India is today at such a stage, where our actions today will determine our ability to reduce the impact of this disaster,” Modi said, citing health experts and health officials.
Modi said “all steps have been taken by the central and state government to ensure supply of essential items.”
“This is a curfew... We will have to pay the economic cost of this, but to save every family member, this is the responsibility of everyone - the biggest priority,” he added.
“If these 21 days are not managed, the country and your family will go back 21 years... I am not saying this as your prime minister, I am saying it as your fellow citizen, family member.”
Two more deaths were confirmed in India on Monday, including a 54-year-old man who had not done any travelling recently.
Many lockdown measures have already been introduced by some individual states, such as border restrictions and allowing only essential services to continue operations.
On Tuesday, commercial airlines were ordered to halt their domestic operations as a ban of international flights was already in effect. Rail travel has also been suspended already.