India PM Modi orders one-day nationwide virus curfew
New Delhi: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday ordered the country’s 1.3 billion population to follow a one-day curfew to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
Modi said in an address to the nation that the curfew would be on Sunday from 7:00am to 9:00pm to test the giant country’s ability to take tough measures against what he called a growing crisis.
The measure would be “in the interest of the country to follow and prepare us for future challenges.”
India has reported 173 positive virus cases and four deaths.
India banned incoming international flights on Thursday, restricted public gatherings and blocked roads to seal Kashmir after the insurgency-torn region reported its first coronavirus infection.
Authorities worry that these countries could be especially at risk should the virus begin to spread locally, due to poor health facilities and infrastructure.
India, the world’s second most populous country after China, said it would ban all international commercial passenger flights from landing from Sunday for a week. The country has already suspended visas for the vast majority of foreigners seeking to enter.
In Indian-ruled Kashmir, claimed in whole but ruled in part by both India and Pakistan, dozens of people told Reuters they had been prevented from leaving their neighborhoods by police and paramilitary units.
Srinagar’s senior superintendent of police, Haseeb Mughal, told Reuters that road blockades across the valley had been imposed to prevent the spread of the virus.
“I had to take my mother to hospital in Srinagar but the police closed the road,” said Mohammed Ayub, from the nearby town of Budgam.
“I am waiting here for the last two hours. I can’t even go home now as the road is blocked due to a traffic jam.” – AFP/ Reuters