India, the planet’s second most populated country with over 1.3 billion people, is now under lockdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The measure was announced by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, and according to a report by CNN, it is scheduled to take effect at midnight on March 25.
"You have seen the worldwide situations arising from the coronavirus pandemic in the news. You have also seen how the most powerful nations have become helpless in the face of this pandemic," Modi reportedly said as he addressed the nation.
"The result of a two-month study of these countries and what the experts are saying is that social distancing is the only option to combat coronavirus," he continued. "That is to remain apart from each other and stay confined to within your homes. There is no other way to remain safe from coronavirus. If we have to stop the spread, we have to break the cycle of infection."
The lockdown will be enforced for a minimum of 21 days across all of India’s 36 states and territories. "According to health experts, a minimum of 21 days is most crucial to break the cycle of infection. If we are not able to manage this pandemic in the next 21 days, the country and your family will be setback by 21 years. If we are not able to manage the next 21 days, then many families will be destroyed forever," Modi stressed.
Only utilities, healthcare and emergency services, municipal services, and groceries will reportedly be permitted to operate during the lockdown. Commercial establishments, offices, markets, places of worship, factories, and public transportation will not be allowed to operate during the 21-day period.