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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that a blockade will be imposed across the country on March 24 in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The restrictions will be in effect from midnight local time and will be in effect for 21 days.
The Prime Minister said in a televised address:
“There will be a total ban on leaving your homes.”
India – with a population of 1.3 billion people – joins the growing list of countries that have introduced such measures.
Nearly 400,000 people tested positive for the virus worldwide, and about 17,000 died.
New measures in India are following a sharp increase in the number of cases in recent days. The country has 519 confirmed cases and 10 reports of death.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “The whole country will be in a blockade, a complete blockade.”
He added: “To save India, to save every citizen of it, you, your family … every street, every block.
Narendra Modi warned that if India does not “cope with these 21 days well, then our country … will go back to 21 years”.
“It’s curfew,” he said.
“We’re going to have to pay the economic cost of this, however [it] everyone’s responsibility. “
Under the new measures, all unimportant businesses will be closed, but hospitals and other medical facilities will continue to operate normally.
Schools and universities will remain closed, and almost all public meetings will be banned.
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In his address, Prime Minister Modi also stressed that the 21-day blockade “was very necessary to break the coronavirus chain”. He stressed the seriousness of the situation and noted that even developed countries have faced problems in combating it. He also said that “social distance was the only way to stop” the spread of the virus.
The Prime Minister has announced that almost $ 2 billion will be provided to improve India’s healthcare infrastructure.
He urged people not to “spread rumors” and follow directions.
The announcement of the prime minister came after several Indian states introduced their own measures such as travel restrictions and the closure of non-essential services.
India has already issued a ban on international arrivals and ground domestic flights. The country’s rail network has also suspended most passenger traffic.