Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days from Tuesday midnight, asserting that social distancing is the only way out for the country in its decisive battle against the coronavirus.
Though 21 days lock down include almost all institutions in the country, a few establishments including banks, insurance offices, and ATMs will allowed to remain open.
In his second address to the nation on the pandemic raging across much of the world with the number of infections rising in India, Modi made a fervent appeal to the countrymen not to cross the 'lakshman rekha' of their homes in the next three weeks.
Any negligence in these 21 days will "push the country and your families by 21 years", he said underlining the massive danger the coronavirus poses.
The experience of countries, which have been able to contain the virus to some extent and experts' views have made it clear that social distancing caused by a lockdown is the only way to break the cycle of the infection, he said.
This is the only ray of light, he asserted.
"To save India, to save every Indian, there will be a complete ban on people from stepping outside their houses from 12 midnight today," he said.
"Lockdown is being imposed on every state, union territory, district, village, mohalla and street," he added.
The lockdown will be like "curfew" and more stringent than the 'janata curfew', which the country had observed on Sunday, he said, adding it will have an economic cost but saving people's lives is of the paramount interest to his government.
A lockdown in most of the country was already in place till March 31, and Modi's announcement extended it everywhere and for two more weeks after this month.
Modi folded his hands a few times to emphasise his request to citizens to adhere to his call, saying it is applicable to everyone from the prime minister to a citizen in a village.
In a 29-minute address to the nation, the prime minister said the Centre had allocated Rs 15,000 crore to strengthen the country’s health infrastructure. This will be used to increase testing capacities, provisions of personal protective equipment (PPE), isolation and ICU beds, ventilators, and other resources to fight the pandemic.
He said the fund would also be used for training medical and paramedics.
The PM said there will be a massive economic cost because of the lockdown, but it needs to be done to save India, save each and every citizen of India. He said the 21 days will be the “decisive battle” against coronavirus. Modi appealed to people with “folded hands” to follow the advisories and instructions of the Centre and state governments.
“Please remember that those infected with coronavirus initially look healthy, and do not show any symptoms of the infection,” Modi said. Citing WHO reports, the PM said one infected person can spread the virus to hundreds within a week to 10-days.
He said the WHO data has revealed that coronavirus took 67 days to infect the first one lakh people, 11 days to spread to the next lakh and only four days to infect three lakh people.
Modi said when coronavirus spread in countries such as China, the US, France, Germany, Spain and Iran, their systems collapsed under the weight of the number of patients. “Please remember, the health infrastructure of Italy and the US is one of the best in the world and despite that these countries could not check the spread of coronavirus,” Modi said.
He said India is at a stage when the next 21-days will decide its future. “Yaad rakhna, jahan hai to jahan hai,” Modi said, and asked people to spare a thought for those who are risking their lives to provide essential services – doctors, nurses, police officials, etc.
Some people suffer from this wrong mindset that only infected persons need to follow social distancing, he said, warning that such a view can endanger lives of others and their families.
The Home Ministry on Tuesday listed organisations that will be closed—and exempt–during the 21-day nationwide lockdown against the coronavirus announced by Prime Minister.
Here is that list, as released by the ministry. .
Offices of the Government of India, its Autonomous/ Subordinate Offices and Public Corporations shall remain closed.
Defence, central armed police forces, treasury, public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG), disaster management, power generation and transmission units, post offices, National Informatics Centre, Early Warning Agencies
Offices of the State/ Union Territory Governments, their Autonomous Bodies, Corporations, etc. shall remain closed.
Police, home guards, civil defence, fire and emergency services, disaster management, and prisons.
District administration and Treasury
Electricity, water, sanitation
Municipal bodies—Only staff required for essential services like sanitation, personnel related to water supply etc
The above offices (SL No 1 & 2) should work with minimum number of employees. All other offices may continue to work-from-home only.
Hospitals and all related medical establishments, including their manufacturing and distribution units, both in public and private sector, such as dispensaries, chemist and medical equipment shops, laboratories, clinics, nursing homes, ambulance etc. will continue to remain functional. The transportation for all medical personnel, nurses, para-medical staff, other hospital support services be permitted.
Commercial and private establishments shall be closed down.
Shops, including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder. However, district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals outside their homes.
Banks, insurance offices, and ATMs.
Print and electronic media
Telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services. IT and IT enabled Services only (for essential services) and as far as possible to work from home.
Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through E-commerce.
Petrol pumps, LPG, Petroleum and gas retail and storage outlets.
Power generation, transmission and distribution units and services.
Capital and debt market services as notified by the Securities and Exchange Board of India
Cold storage and warehousing services.
Private security services
All other establishments may work-from-home only.
Industrial Establishments will remain closed.
Manufacturing units of essential commodities.
Production units, which require continuous process, after obtaining required permission from the State Government
All transport services — air, rail, roadways — will remain suspended.
Transportation for essential goods only.
Fire, law and order and emergency services.
Hospitality Services to remain suspended
a. Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels, which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew.
b. Establishments used/ earmarked for quarantine facilities.
All educational, training, research, coaching institutions etc. shall remain closed.
All places of worship shall be closed for public. No religious congregations will be permitted, without any exception.
All social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions / gatherings shall be barred.
In case of funerals, congregation of not more than twenty persons will be permitted.
All persons who have arrived into India after 15.02.2020, and all such persons who have been directed by health care personnel to remain under strict home/ institutional quarantine for a period as decided by local Health Authorities, failing which they will be liable to legal action under Sec. 188 of the IPC.
"All enforcing authorities to note that these strict restrictions fundamentally relate to movement of people, but not to that of essential goods," said the ministry in a notification listing the rules.