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2020 coronavirus lockdown in India

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2020 India coronavirus lockdown
Part of 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic
Date25 March 2020 (2020-03-25) – present (scheduled to expire on 14 April 2020 (2020-04-14))
Location
Caused byCOVID-19 pandemic in India
GoalsTo contain the spread of coronavirus outbreak in India
Methods
  • Ban on people from stepping out of their homes
  • All services and shops closed except hospitals, banks, grocery shops and other essential services
  • Closure of commercial and private establishments (only work-from-home allowed)
  • Suspension of all educational, training, research institutions
  • Closure of all places of worship
  • Suspension of all non-essential public and private transport
  • Prohibition of all social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious activities
Resulted inThe entire country is in lockdown

On 24 March, the Government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, limiting movement of the entire 1.3 billion population of India as a preventive measure against the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in India.[1] It was ordered after a 14-hour voluntary public curfew on 22 March, followed by enforcement of a series of regulations in the country's COVID-19 affected regions.[2][3] The lockdown was placed when the number of confirmed positive coronavirus cases in India was approximately 500.[1]

On 7 April, reports said that the state governments and other advisory committees recommended extending the lockdown.[4]

Background

PM Modi's address to the nation prior to the lockdown.

The government of India confirmed that India's first case of Coronavirus disease 2019 on 30 January 2020 in the state of Kerala, when a university student from Wuhan traveled back to the state.[5] As the number of confirmed COVID-19 positive cases closed 500, PM Modi on 19 March, asked all citizens to observe 'Janata Curfew' (people's curfew) from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday, 22 March.[6] At the end of the curfew, Modi had said: "Janata Curfew is just the beginning of a long battle against COVID-19". Following this while addressing the nation second time, on 24 March, he announced the nationwide lockdown from midnight of that day, for a period of 21 days.[7] He said that the only solution to control the spread of coronavirus is breaking the cycle of transmission by social distancing.[8] He also added that the lockdown will be enforced more strictly than the Janata Curfew.[9]

Prohibitions

The lockdown restricts people from stepping out of their homes.[9] All transport services – road, air and rail were suspended with exceptions for transportation of essential goods, fire, police and emergency services.[10] Educational institutions, industrial establishments and hospitality services were also suspended.[10] Services such as food shops, banks and ATMs, petrol pumps, other essentials and their manufacturing are exempted.[11] The Home Ministry said the anyone who fails to follow the restrictions can face up to a year in jail.[10]

Timeline

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a video conference during the lockdown.

On the first day of the lockdown, nearly all services and factories were suspended.[12] People were hurrying to stock essentials in some parts.[13] Arrests across the states were made for violating norms of lockdown such as venturing out for no emergency, opening businesses and home quarantine violations.[14] The government held meetings with e-commerce websites and vendors to ensure a seamless supply of essential goods across the nation during the lockdown period.[14] Several states announced relief funds for the poor and affected people[14] while the central government was finalising a stimulus package.[15]

On 26 March, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced 170,000 crore (US$24 billion) stimulus package to help those affected by the lockdown.[16] The package was aimed to provide food security measures for poor households through direct cash transfers, free cereals and cooking gas for three months.[17] It also provided insurance cover for medical personnel.[16]

On 27 March, the Reserve Bank of India announced a slew of measures to help mitigate the economic impacts of the lockdown.[18]

Prior to the announcement of the nationwide lockdown, on March 22, the government had announced that Indian Railways would suspend passenger operations through March 31.[19] The national rail network is maintaining its freight operations during the lockdown, to transport essential goods.[20] On 29 March, Indian Railways announced that it would start service for special parcel trains to transport essential goods, in addition to regular freight service.[21] The national rail operator has also announced plans to convert coaches into isolation wards for patients of COVID-19.[22] This has been described as the first time in 167 years that India's rail network had been suspended,[23] although there was also a strike in 1974.[24]

Impact

Food delivery services were banned by several state governments despite central government's approval.[25] Thousands of people emigrated out of major Indian cities, as they became jobless after the lockdown.[26] Following the lockdown, India's electricity demand fell down to a five-month low on 28 March.[27]

Migrant workers

An estimated 139 million migrant workers from the countryside work in India's cities and towns. With factories and workplaces shut down, they were left with no livelihood. In the first few days of the lockdown, television screens captured long processions of migrant workers walking miles to go back to their native villages, often with families and young children on shoulders.[28] Two days later, the Uttar Pradesh government decided to arrange buses at Delhi's Anand Vihar bus station to take the migrants back to their villages. Large crowds gathered at the bus station awaiting buses. The central government issued a press statement stating that it had asked state governments to set up immediate relief camps for the migrant workers returning to their native states.[29] On 29 March, the government issued sweeping orders directing that the landlords should not demand rent during the period of the lockdown and that employers should pay wages without deduction. The people that violated the lockdown were to be sent to government-run quarantine facilities for 14 days.[30][31] The Supreme Court of India agreed to hear a petition on behalf of the migrant workers on 30 March.[32]

Migrant workers stand in a queue for food at Delhi Govt school during COVID-19 Lockdown at Delhi

Food supply chain

The order issued by the Home Ministry on 24 March allowed the functioning of shops dealing with food items as well as the manufacturing units and transportion of "essential goods". However, the lack of clarity on "essential goods" meant that the policemen on the streets stopped workers going to factories and the trucks carrying food items. Food industries also faced shortages of labour because the workers were unable to reach workplaces and the factory managers faced the fear of legal action. All these factors combined to result in shortages and a raise in the prices of food items.[33]

Relief

According to the Government of India report filed with the Supreme Court of India, state governments operated 22,567 relief camps for stranded migrant workers, of which 15,541 camps (amounting to 68% of all) were operated by Kerala, 1,135 camps by Maharashtra, 178 camps by Tamil Nadu and smaller numbers by other states. Non-governmental organisations were operating 3,909 camps.[34]

Backing the lockdown, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh provided essential services including masks and food to many all over India during the lockdown.[35][36][37][38][39]

Effectiveness

People were seen breaching the lockdown and not following social distancing by crowding in vegetable markets in some places.[40][41][42] On 29 March, Prime Minister Modi advised against this, urging people to stay home in his Mann Ki Baat radio address.[43]

On 27 March, police arrested 8 people and registered complaint against 150 people in Hardoi for gathering in mosque.[44] On 2 April, thousands of people assembled at temples in various parts of West Bengal defied the lockdown for celebrating Ram Navami and several policemen that attempted to block them were attacked.[45][46] 12 members of Tablighi Jamaat were arrested on 5 April in Muzaffarnagar for defying the lockdown.[47] A priest in Andhra Pradesh was arrested for defying lockdown and organizing gathering of 150 people in a church.[48]

Reception

Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India praised the response describing it as "timely, comprehensive and robust".[2] WHO executive director, Mike Ryan said that lockdowns alone will not eliminate coronavirus. He said that India must take necessary measures to prevent second and third wave of infections.[49] On 3 April 2020, Dr David Nabarro, WHO's special envoy on the disease, said that ‘Lockdown in India was early, far-sighted and courageous’ and was better than waiting for another 3 or 4 weeks.[50]

The Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) has issued a report in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University and Princeton University, where it said that a national lockdown is not "productive" and could cause "serious economic damage". It advocated state-level lockdowns in the most affected states. Its models predicted that in the best case scenario, a peak of one million hospitalisations would be encountered in early June.[51][52][53][a] In an op-ed in The New York Times, the CDDEP director Laxminarayan explained that if the national lockdown finds good compliance, it would reduce the peak infections in early May by 70 to 80 percent, but still 1 million would require hospitalization and critical care. He further hypothesized, If the lockdown was not imposed the number of critical patients would have reached 5-6 million.[55]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ There was some confusion regarding the involvement of the Johns Hopkins University as the University said that the use of its logo was unauthorised. However, the University's International Health twitter handle reaffirmed its association with the CDDEP and the report. The Princeton University also acknowledged the affiliation of its researchers and pointed out that the work will be submitted to peer review.[54]

References

  1. ^ a b Gettleman, Jeffrey; Schultz, Kai (24 March 2020). "Modi Orders 3-Week Total Lockdown for All 1.3 Billion Indians". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  2. ^ a b "COVID-19: Lockdown across India, in line with WHO guidance". UN News. 24 March 2020.
  3. ^ Helen Regan; Esha Mitra; Swati Gupta. "India places millions under lockdown to fight coronavirus". CNN.
  4. ^ Close schools, all religious activities, extend lockdown: States tell Centre, India Today, 7 April 2020.
  5. ^ Ward, Alex (24 March 2020). "India's coronavirus lockdown and its looming crisis, explained". Vox.
  6. ^ "PM Modi calls for 'Janata curfew' on March 22 from 7 AM-9 PM". BusinessLine.
  7. ^ "India's 1.3bn population told to stay at home". BBC News. 25 March 2020.
  8. ^ "21-day lockdown in entire India to fight coronavirus, announces PM Narendra Modi". India Today.
  9. ^ a b "PM calls for complete lockdown of entire nation for 21 days". Press Information Bureau.
  10. ^ a b c "Guidelines.pdf" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs.
  11. ^ Tripathi, Rahul (25 March 2020). "India 21 day Lockdown: What is exempted, what is not". The Economic Times.
  12. ^ Singh, Karan Deep; Goel, Vindu; Kumar, Hari; Gettleman, Jeffrey (25 March 2020). "India, Day 1: World's Largest Coronavirus Lockdown Begins". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331.
  13. ^ Covid-19: People flock to wholesale markets in UP, West Bengal amid lockdown, ANI, 24 March 2020
  14. ^ a b c "Day 1 of coronavirus lockdown: India registers 101 new cases, 3 deaths; Govt says working to deliver essential services". India Today.
  15. ^ "Rs 2.3 trillion for 1.3 billion: Govt to announce stimulus package to fight coronavirus, says report". India Today.
  16. ^ a b "FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces Rs 1.7 lakh crore relief package for poor". The Economic Times. 27 March 2020.
  17. ^ Choudhury, Saheli Roy (26 March 2020). "India announces $22.5 billion stimulus package to help those affected by the lockdown". CNBC.
  18. ^ "RBI cuts rates, allows moratorium on auto, home loan EMIs". The Hindu. 27 March 2020. ISSN 0971-751X.
  19. ^ "MASSIVE: Railways suspends all passenger train operations till March 31". Republic World. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  20. ^ Nandi, Tamal (27 March 2020). "How Indian Railways continuing its freight operations post lockdown". Livemint. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  21. ^ Nandi, Shreya (29 March 2020). "Covid-19: Railways resumes parcel trains to transport essential goods". Livemint. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  22. ^ "Coronavirus Outbreak: Indian Railways converts non-AC train coach into isolation ward on trial basis". Firstpost. Retrieved 30 March 2020.
  23. ^ Ramaprasad, Hema. "India has closed its railways for the first time in 167 years. Now trains are being turned into hospitals". CNN. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Looking back at anger". The Hindu. 6 January 2002. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  25. ^ "Zomato, Swiggy ordered to shut down in several states". ETtech.com.
  26. ^ Priyali Sur; Ben Westcott. "Indian migrant workers face tough choice amid world's largest lockdown". CNN. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  27. ^ "Coronavirus effect: India's electricity demand falls to 5-month low after lockdown". India Today.
  28. ^ Ismat Ara, Watch | 'No Work, No Money': Thousands Stranded on Anand Vihar Bus Stand, The Wire, 29 March 2020.
  29. ^ Fighting Covid-19: After the long walk, jobless migrants head home by bus, Business Standard, 29 March 2020.
  30. ^ Coronavirus | Migrant workers to be stopped, quarantined at borders, says Centre, The Hindu, 29 March 2020.
  31. ^ Coronavirus crisis: Landlords can't ask rent from students, workers for 1 month, Business Today, 29 March 2020.
  32. ^ Supreme Court To Hear Petition On Migrants Amid Lockdown Tomorrow, NDTV, 29 March 2020.
  33. ^ Siraj Hussain, COVID-19 Border Lockdown: How Precariously Placed are Our Food Supply Chains?, The Wire, 29 March 2020.
  34. ^ Coronavirus | Centre files report on migrant workers, The Hindu, 7 April 2020.
  35. ^ Kaushika, Pragya (4 April 2020). "Backing Modi govt on lockdown, RSS doles out a bouquet of services for those stranded". ANI. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  36. ^ "RSS serves needy people in AP during lockdown". Business Standard Private Ltd. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  37. ^ "RSS provides food to needy; operates 52 kitchens across Delhi amid COVID-19 lockdown". Business Standard Private Ltd. 29 March 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  38. ^ "Helping Hand: Rajasthan RSS Workers Join Forces to Serve the Poor Amid Coronavirus Lockdown". News18.com. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  39. ^ Bose, Mrityunjay (6 April 2020). "RSS serves food to over 1 lakh Mumbaikars during COVID-19 lockdown". The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  40. ^ "People throng vegetable market despite lockdown". The Hindu. 25 March 2020.
  41. ^ "Karimnagar: Minister unhappy over people not following social distancing norms". Telangana Today.
  42. ^ Rizvi, Sumaira (28 March 2020). "Clapping to slapping — India did everything other than social distancing this week". ThePrint.
  43. ^ "'I was extremely hurt...': Key highlights of PM Modi's Mann ki Baat address". Hindustan Times. 29 March 2020.
  44. ^ Lockdown violation: 8 arrested in Ayodhya, over 150 booked in Hardoi for assembling in mosques - lucknow - Hindustan Times
  45. ^ Defying lockdown, devotees in Bengal assemble at temples on Ram Navami, The Hindu, 2 April 2020.
  46. ^ Press Trust of India (2 April 2020). "Devotees assemble in temples on Ram Navami in Bengal defying lockdown". India Today.
  47. ^ 12 Tabligi Jamaat Members from Nepal Booked for Defying Lockdown Orders in UP's Muzaffarnagar - News18
  48. ^ Andhra pastor arrested for defying lockdown, conducting Mass with 150 people | Business Standard News
  49. ^ "Lockdowns alone won't eliminate coronavirus: WHO to India". India Today.
  50. ^ "'Lockdown in India was early, far-sighted and courageous': WHO envoy - india news". Hindustan Times. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2020.
  51. ^ "India may see 25 crore COVID-19 cases in next 3 months: Report". Outlook India.
  52. ^ Suresh Dharur, Venkataraghavan Srinivasan, The bad, the worse and the worst: Where India is headed on COVID graph, The Federal, 29 March 2020.
  53. ^ COVID-19 Modeling with IndiaSIM, The Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP), 24 March 2020.
  54. ^ IANS, Johns Hopkins University ties itself in knots over alarmist economist, Outlook, 29 March 2020.
  55. ^ Ramanan Laxminarayan, What India Needs to Fight the Virus, The New York Times, 27 March 2020.
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