Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a “complete” lockdown for India’s 1.3 billion people on Tuesday, 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 last for a minimum of 21 days, and would apply to all of India’s 36 states and territories. 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.
A number of Indian states have ordered lockdowns in the past few days, in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading. International borders have been shut to most travelers coming from Europe.
Modi said that the measures are necessary to protect the population, and referred to experience from other countries. He stressed that “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.”