This article documents a current quarantine. Information may change rapidly as the event progresses, and initial news reports may be unreliable. The latest updates to this article may not reflect the most current information. (March 2020) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|2020 India coronavirus lockdown|
|Part of 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic|
|Date||25 March 2020– present (scheduled to expire on 14 April 2020 )|
|Caused by||COVID-19 pandemic in India|
|Goals||To contain the spread of coronavirus outbreak in India|
|Resulted in||The 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. 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. The lockdown was placed when the number of confirmed positive coronavirus cases in India was approximately 500.
On 7 April, reports said that the state governments and other advisory committees recommended extending 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. 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. 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. He said that the only solution to control the spread of coronavirus is breaking the cycle of transmission by social distancing. He also added that the lockdown will be enforced more strictly than the Janata Curfew.
|Part of a series on the|
|2019–20 coronavirus pandemic|
The lockdown restricts people from stepping out of their homes. All transport services – road, air and rail were suspended with exceptions for transportation of essential goods, fire, police and emergency services. Educational institutions, industrial establishments and hospitality services were also suspended. Services such as food shops, banks and ATMs, petrol pumps, other essentials and their manufacturing are exempted. The Home Ministry said the anyone who fails to follow the restrictions can face up to a year in jail.
On the first day of the lockdown, nearly all services and factories were suspended. People were hurrying to stock essentials in some parts. Arrests across the states were made for violating norms of lockdown such as venturing out for no emergency, opening businesses and home quarantine violations. 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. Several states announced relief funds for the poor and affected people while the central government was finalising a stimulus package.
On 26 March, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced ₹170,000 crore (US$24 billion) stimulus package to help those affected by the lockdown. The package was aimed to provide food security measures for poor households through direct cash transfers, free cereals and cooking gas for three months. It also provided insurance cover for medical personnel.
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. The national rail network is maintaining its freight operations during the lockdown, to transport essential goods. 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. The national rail operator has also announced plans to convert coaches into isolation wards for patients of COVID-19. This has been described as the first time in 167 years that India's rail network had been suspended, although there was also a strike in 1974.
Food delivery services were banned by several state governments despite central government's approval. Thousands of people emigrated out of major Indian cities, as they became jobless after the lockdown. Following the lockdown, India's electricity demand fell down to a five-month low on 28 March.
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. 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. 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. The Supreme Court of India agreed to hear a petition on behalf of the migrant workers on 30 March.
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.
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.
People were seen breaching the lockdown and not following social distancing by crowding in vegetable markets in some places. On 29 March, Prime Minister Modi advised against this, urging people to stay home in his Mann Ki Baat radio address.
On 27 March, police arrested 8 people and registered complaint against 150 people in Hardoi for gathering in mosque. 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. 12 members of Tablighi Jamaat were arrested on 5 April in Muzaffarnagar for defying the lockdown. A priest in Andhra Pradesh was arrested for defying lockdown and organizing gathering of 150 people in a church.
Henk Bekedam, WHO Representative to India praised the response describing it as "timely, comprehensive and robust". 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. 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.
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.[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.