What Really Lead India To A Nationwide Lockdown, Here Is The Underside Of The Iceberg

Bhavna Acharya |Mar 25, 2020

PM Narendra Modi decided to put the whole country under a 21-day-long lockdown starting from midnight Wednesday, March 25. This is what is really going on in India and the reasons behind the nationwide lockdown!

A few days after the 14-hour-long curfew on Sunday, PM Narendra Modi came to a decision of a 21-day nationwide lockdown starting from midnight Wednesday. It means that all Indians have to stay at home for quarantine while public services like transportation, markets, and malls will be suspended. Only medical services and hospitals will be opened as usual. 

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PM Narendra Modi decided to put the whole country under lockdown starting from midnight Wednesday, March 25.

India total lockdown

He also emphasized that the ‘total lockdown’ was aimed to protect every Indian citizen despite the enormous economic cost. ‘If India cannot handle these 21 days well, the whole country might go backward by 21 years’, said India PM Modi. 

Prime Minister Modi also pointed out that:

  • The 21-day lockdown was "very necessary to break the chain of coronavirus"
  • The situation was serious as even developed countries are struggling to combat
  • The only way to stop the spread of coronavirus is ‘social distancing’
  • The government will provide $2bn (£1.8bn) to improve the health care system of the country
  • People should follow the given instruction. Anyone who intends to spread rumors will be punished. 
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A queue of shoppers in front of a shop in Delhi

Panic-buying in India

After the nationwide shutdown order, the whole country witnessed a massive panic-buying while pharmacies and shops were studded with people who stockpiled anything they can while bread, rice, flour, biscuits, edible oils are the most purchased. 

According to a shop owner in Shakarpur district of Delhi, it was a chaos that he’s never witnessed his entire life. Police in big cities had to use megaphones to take control of the panic crowds.

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Panic buying across the country after India government announced the total lockdown

Also read: American Experts Predict 800 Million Indian People Might Be Infected With Coronavirus

India is facing a huge challenge

With 536 confirmed cases and 10 deaths among 1.35 billion people recorded on Wednesday, March 25, it seems like India is doing good in controlling the spread of coronavirus. Meanwhile, China with a population of 1.43, has up to 81,000 cases and South Korea, whose population is only 3.8% of India, has more than 9000 cases. 

In fact, India has promptly responded even since the earlier stage when no sign of public transmission was shown. Commercial flights have suspended, many major cities have been put under lockdown, citizens are recommended to stay inside their homes to minimize the trajectory of coronavirus spread. 

India Nationwide Lockdown
Indian people praise the medical staff in Janta Curfew day last Sunday

The real situation might be worse than it looks

However, we still face the risk of a potential outbreak inside the community. According to many experts, as India is incapable of widespread testing, the real number of positive cases might be higher than estimated. In fact, the number of coronavirus tests conducted was only half in comparison to South Korea.

Given the fact that India is the second-highest population with 1.38 billion living in jam-packed cities and overloaded transportation, our country might be home for an unprecedented outbreak which is challenging to handle. According to WHO, India might be the next global epicenter after Italy if prevention methods and lockdown haven't been taken as soon as possible.

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Police in big cities is trying to take control of the panic crowds.

Social distancing is challenging

Although the governments are trying their best in asking people to self-quarantine, keep hand hygiene to protect themself from infection, it can hardly be done in some parts of the country. In India, nearly one-third of the country is living in low-quality structures, slums, and urban sprawl without private bathrooms or running water. How can they wash their hands with soap frequently?

Apart from being the second-largest population with 1.38 billion, India also has a high population density with an average of 455 people per kilometer while the number of China is only 155, how can self-isolation possible for those who eve have no home to live?

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Amid the coronavirus crisis, homeless people are the most unprotected and vulnerable.

Also read: PICTURES: Everyone Stays Home During Coronavirus Pandemic, But What About The Homeless?

The enormous economic loss

India is coming into the lock with visible economic loss. Being one of the world's largest labor markets, putting all services into suspended means that more than 10 million India is facing the risk of losing their jobs. With all domestic and international flights are suspended, businesses and factories are closed, the coronavirus pandemic has affected every sector of the national economy while poor workers are the most vulnerable.

It is not only the concern of labor workers but also the governments as the Ministry of Labor and Employment notice businesses not to terminate or cut employee's salaries. In addition to that, they also roll out financial expenses to help those employees make ends meet. For example, low-income employees in Yogi Adityanath will be given 1,000 rupees each day during the state lockdown period. 

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Coronavirus pandemic causes an enormous economic loss to many countries around the world inlcuding India

Health care system is the top issue

However, the biggest issue that India has to cope with as soon as possible is the one with health care services. India is lacking both well-trained staff and medical supplies which makes our health sector generally inadequate. Therefore, a number of actions including short terms, medium and long terms must have been taken to improve the quality of public health service. 

According to the World Bank, India only spends 3.66% GDP on health system while the US, which spends 17% of its GDP on the sector, is still struggling with the health crisis. However, the good news is the government is working on increasing the health capacity of all states.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases in India is 511 with 10 death. The lockdown order will take application starting from midnight Wednesday, March 25th.

Check out a video of India on the verge of total lockdown:

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