NEW DELHI, India (CNN) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown starting at midnight Wednesday.
All of India’s 36 states and territories will be under a complete lockdown in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
“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. It’s not that these nations aren’t making efforts or face a lack of resources. But the coronavirus is spreading so rapidly that despite all these efforts, the challenge is increasing. The result of a two-month study of these countries and what the experts are saying is that social distancing is the only option to combat coronavirus. That is to remain apart from each other and stay confined to within your homes. 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,” said Modi in a live televised address Tuesday night.
“Going by the experiences of health experts and other countries, the nation is going to take a very important decision today. From 12 midnight today, the entire country will go under a complete lockdown to save India and for every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” he announced.
“Therefore, I request you to remain wherever you are in this country. In view of the current situation the lockdown shall be enforced for 21 days, which means the next 21 days are crucial for us,” Modi continued.
Only essential services will be operational. These include water, electricity, health services, fire services, groceries and municipal services.
All shops, commercial establishments, factories, workshops, offices, markets and places of worship will be closed and interstate buses and metros will be suspended. Construction activity will also be on a halt during this period.