Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a “complete” lockdown for India’s 1.3 billion people , warning that “many families will be destroyed forever” if the country didn’t get to grips with its coronavirus outbreak in the next three weeks.
Modi said the lockdown would start at midnight local time, would last for a minimum of 21 days, and would apply to all of India’s 36 states and territories.
“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 said in a live televised address to the nation on Tuesday evening ahead of the deadline.
India is the world’s second-most populous country and the fifth-biggest economy, but so far, it has appeared to avoid the full hit of the pandemic. The country has confirmed 519 coronavirus cases, including 10 deaths and 39 patients who have been cured, according to the Ministry of Health.