India's 1.3bn population locked down to beat coronavirus

PM Modi to address nation today on coronavirus Where and when to watch live stream telecast

PM Modi to address nation today on coronavirus Where and when to watch live stream telecast

As cases of the viral infection surged, authorities have put nearly the entire country under lockdown, banning gathering of people and suspending road, rail and air traffic till March 31.

The 21-day lockdown is set to begin at midnight in a measure which Modi says is intended "to save India and every Indian".

PM Modi said that some think social distancing is only for patients, and that's not correct, social distancing is the only way to fight the virus, it is for every citizen, every family, every member, even for the Prime Minister. "To save india, to save all citizens of india, to save you and your family, there will be a total ban on stepping out of home", he said.

"From 12pm tonight there will be complete lockdown in the entire country. You have also seen how the most powerful nations have become helpless in the face of this pandemic", Modi said in a live televised address to the nation on Tuesday evening ahead of the deadline.

"The lockdown of 21 days is long, but is significant to save lives". "Every state, every union territory, every district, every village and every locality is being put under a lockdown".

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"Covid-19 took 67 days to spread to one lakh people".

"The government should also provide financial assistance to daily wage labourers and people of financially weaker sections because this kind of lockdown will impact them the most and they will find it hard to live in the absence of work. World Health Organization experts say even one infected person can spread the virus to numerous people, that means, it spreads like fire", he added.

The announcement prompted panic buying across the country, with many thousands rushing out to get supplies and queues forming outside grocery shops, as Modi did not specify whether people would be allowed out for food shopping, though he later clarified this in a tweet.

The lockdown came even though Indian health officials, defying the views of worldwide experts, have denied that the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 was not being transmitted within the community. He had, notably, placed the onus on people to fight it and not announced any specific plans that his government would take. That is to remain apart from each other and stay confined to within your homes.

He announced the government is allocating Rs 15,000 crore towards improving the infrastructure in the health sector of the country. The government is working on it and will continue to do so, he also said. It said other offices can operate by providing employees the work from home facility.

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