Prime Minister Narendra Modi has imposed a pan India lockdown for 21 days in order to stop the spread of coronavirus. He addressed the nation through a live telecast speech last night. The restrictions came into effect from midnight. He added: “To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family… every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown” and urged people to treat this like a curfew. However, this lockdown could prove a double edged sword.
On Sunday March 22, we were told to observe a ‘Janata Curfew’ and clap on balconies or clang plates to cheer blue collar workers and medical staff at 5 pm. The cheering happened with the kind of ruckus one sees during Diwali. If the plate-clanging and clapping had taken place in windows and balconies, it would be fine. What actually happened was people stepped onto the streets to ‘come together’ against Coronavirus, destroying the whole point of the exercise! They stayed indoors all day and came out at 5 pm to undo the janata curfew.
Instead of celebrating our medical personnel, we ended up disrespecting what Modi had asked us to do… maintaining distance to prevent community transmission.
Modi yesterday appealed for people not to panic – but crowds quickly mobbed stores in the capital, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. People rushed to stockpile supplies on Tuesday night after prime minister announced the entire country was going into lockdown for 21 days.
Modi said, in a televised address, everyone should “forget about” leaving their homes for any reason – and did not mention the status of essential supplies and food items. All over the country, people flooded shops, looking to stock up on groceries and other items. However, Modi tweeted 40 minutes later, clarifying that the lockdown would not impact essential services and asking people not to panic but it was too late by then. Let’s hope the lockdown manages to curb the spread in the next 21 days.