Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has ordered a 21-day nationwide lockdown starting at midnight Wednesday.
All of India's 36 states and territories will be under a complete lockdown in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Here's how Modi explained it on a televised address:
"You have seen the worldwide situations arising from the coronavirus pandemic in the news. You have also seen how the most powerful nations have become helpless in the face of this pandemic. It’s not that these nations aren’t making efforts or face a lack of resources. But the coronavirus is spreading so rapidly that despite all these efforts, the challenge is increasing. The result of a two-month study of these countries and what the experts are saying is that social distancing is the only option to combat coronavirus. That is to remain apart from each other and stay confined to within your homes. There is no other way to remain safe from coronavirus. If we have to stop the spread, we have to break the cycle of infection."
"I request you to remain wherever you are in this country. In view of the current situation, the lockdown shall be enforced for 21 days, which means the next 21 days are crucial for us,” Modi continued.
These are the essential services that will be operational:
- Health services
- Fire services
- Municipal services.
All shops, commercial establishments, factories, workshops, offices, markets and places of worship will be closed. Interstate buses and metros will be suspended. Construction activity will also be on a halt during this period.