Modi’s Call for “Janata Curfew” to Contain Coronavirus Outbreak in India

On Sunday, March 22, 2020, hundreds of millions of Indians observed the voluntary citizens’ curfew, “Janata Curfew” by responding the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s call for people to stay indoors or self-isolation as a measure to contain the spread of coronavirus outbreak in the country.

Although the number is less as compared to other regions of the world, South Asia witnessed the surge of the virus confirmed cases and has about 1,144 cases with 10 people were reported dead.

Janata Curfew in India

India, having a population of more than 1.3 billion people, has been gradually affected by the virus epidemic and is currently facing a struggle to contain the virus spread with limited resources. Several national newspapers reported till Sunday evening that the number of the virus cases has reached 341 and six deaths in India. Analysts reported that the level of infected cases in India is now at the early stage of the virus outbreak which has the possibility of an exponential increase in the near future.

The Modi government imposed preventive measures including suspending rail and public transport services amid its difficult times due to the virus outbreak. The imposition of voluntary self-isolation of the people has witnessed a deserted look on the streets across the country but did not officially ban on movements. Many social media users posted videos of empty streets across the country and people heeded with the PM’s appeal for self-locked staying indoors.

On the last week’s public statement, Modi urged citizens to stand at their balconies or near windows on Sunday evening and clap or ring bells in the acknowledgment of the dedication and sacrifice offered by medical personnel and doctors in such miserable times of the virus epidemic.

A senior advisor to Modi told, “The curfew period has given us a chance to scale down each and every activity across India,” while adding that a more rigid approach could be problematic. He further explained, “A breakdown of law and order will be the worst thing to happen at this point.”

New Developments

From the financial capital of Mumbai to India’s capital city, New Delhi; the union and state governments completely shut down 75 districts across the country and canceled all passenger railways until March 31.

Several state governments have stepped up to declare the closure of factories, large industrial parks, and banks as part of the preventive measures of the virus outbreak. Moreover, social and public events, such as weddings, and local elections were suspended while even small vendors such as vegetable stalls and small tea shops were shut.

The local police provided free masks and sanitizers at checkpoints on interstate highways while the union government has stepped up to produce more masks and ordered deodorant-based companies to produce sanitizers. Meanwhile, Facebook’s WhatsApp, which has over 400 million users in India, has partnered with the union government to launch service for sharing healthcare information about the virus epidemic.

The union and state leaders announced not to do panic buying food items or other daily essentials but tensions have been mounted as many people stated rushing to villages and protests emerged due to sudden lockdown of public transport services. This week, the Indian government has put a ban on foreigners traveling to the country due to the rate of the surge of the disease infection.

*** Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in South Asia reached 1,144 until Sunday. Pakistan – 646, India – 341, Sri Lanka – 80, Afghanistan – 34, Bangladesh – 27, Maldives – 13, Nepal – 1, and Bhutan – 2.

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