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India puts all 1.3 billion people on lockdown for 3 weeks over coronavirus

President Donald J. Trump joins India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on stage Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, at a rally in honor of Prime Minister Modi at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
March 24, 2020

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has placed the entire country of India under lockdown for three weeks, in an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The nationwide lockdown order, affecting a country of approximately 1.3 billion people, will go into effect at midnight, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.

“If we listen to the health experts we know that 21 days are crucial to break the cycle of transmission,” Modi said in a televised address. “For a few days forget what it means to go out. Today’s decision of a nationwide lockdown draws a line outside your home.”

The decision comes as India has recorded 519 cases and 10 coronavirus deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus case tracking map.

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The United Kingdom similarly imposed a three week-minimum national lockdown on Monday. Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson similarly called on citizens to stay in their homes to limit the spread of the coronavirus from household to household.

“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” Johnson said. “Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.”

Exceptions to Britain’s lockdown include for people going to gather groceries or medicines from pharmacies, as well as minimal daily exercise and travel to and from work if work cannot be done remotely.

On March 10, Italy announced a nationwide lockdown. At the time, the coronavirus death toll had reached 463 people. Currently, Italy has nearly 64,000 coronavirus cases and over 6,000 deaths.

The U.S. has introduced travel restrictions affecting travel in and out of the country, and major sporting events and church services have been cancelled, however no lockdown restricting people to their homes has been declared at the national level. Individual states have instead declared their own “stay at home” orders.

States that have issued some form of “stay at home” order or another include: Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Massachusetts, Louisiana, Delaware, Ohio, California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Oregon, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.