Modi shuts down entire India for 21 days; WHO praises

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday evening announced a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The restrictions came into force at midnight India time and will be enforced for 21 days. In his televised address, Modi said "The entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown," There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes."  He added: "To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family... every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown." Modi warned that if India does not "handle these 21 days well, then our country... will go backwards by 21 years". He warned that panic-buying would only spread the disease and that the government would ensure supplies. But crowds quickly mobbed stores in the national capital, Delhi, and the financial capital, Mumbai, people fearing shortages quickly thronged shops and pharmacies. It is not clear yet how people will now be allowed out to buy food and other essentials. Under the new measures, all non-essential businesses will be closed but hospitals and other medical facilities will continue to function as normal. Anyone flouting the new rules faces up to two years in prison and heavy fines. The new measures follow a sharp increase in cases in recent days. There have been 519 confirmed cases across India and 10 reported deaths.

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