Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of a three-week countrywide lockdown covering almost one-fifth of the world's population triggered panic buying on Tuesday night, but the situation eased after the government issued notices that essential services would be provided.
At 5 in the evening, people also lauded the essential services workers by coming out on their terraces and balconies to clap as appealed by PM Modi. In India, cases number at 606 while the country reported its tenth fatality earlier this week. The virus has now spread to nearly all states in India, with the highest number of cases in Maharashtra, where the city of Mumbai is located, and the southern state of Kerala.
"You have seen the global situations arising out of the coronavirus pandemic at the news". He added that "many families will be destroyed forever" if the country doesn't get a grip on the outbreak, CNN reports.
Although the country only has 519 confirmed cases and 10 deaths from the virus so far, the government is taking drastic preventative measures to ensure that the outbreak is controlled.
Two questions were hanging heavy on many Indians' minds after the Prime Minister's speech: why 21 days and will it be enough?
The nation's capital Delhi, usually crawling with automobile traffic on any given day, remained eerily silent, with residents restricted to their homes amid the coronavirus scare.
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In a series of tweets after the PM's address to the nation, Chidambaram said the right thing to do for every citizen would be to support the decision whatever may be the hardships.
Police check documents of commuters during a lockdown in Prayagraj, India.
It was not clear what the lockdown would mean for about 300 million Indians who according to official data live below the poverty line.
The 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by Narendra Modi is a gamble to stop the exponential growth of patients infected by the novel coronavirus and allow the microbe to emerge slower in a better-prepared country, experts said.
As of right now, the lockdown will be enforced for 21 days. "Social distancing is the only option to combat coronavirus". He continues to remain indoors at his home there, said an aide and had been holding conference calls and meetings over videoconferencing from his residence.
The first videos of the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7 LKM since the start of the 21-day Coronavirus lockdown across the country are now out, demonstrating how the ministers are practicing social distancing. Everything will be closed, building sites comprised, and buses and metros will be suspended.
As states shut their borders, long queues of trucks carrying milk, fruits and vegetables snaked down highways, even though Modi said essential services would be maintained countrywide.