Amid the lethal coronavirus (COVID-19) scare that has gripped over India, the government has left no stone unturned to curb the spread.
The total number of novel coronavirus cases in India rose to 424 on March 23rd, 2020, after 30 fresh cases were reported, according to Health Ministry data. The figure includes 40 foreign nationals and the seven deaths reported so far. The 424 figure also includes 35 people who have been cured, discharged or migrated, it said. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said 18,383 samples have been tested till 10 am on Monday.
The central government today announced that the restaurants, groceries, petrol and diesel, and medical services, among other essential services and commodities, will remain available during the COVID-19-related lockdown. The government has instructed the States to issue orders placing unprecedented restrictions in 80 districts across 17 States and five Union Territories in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus. The Assam Government has not declared lockdown in the state yet.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi lamented that people are not taking the lockdown in the country seriously. In a tweet, the PM appealed to the people to save their family members and themselves by strictly adhering to the directions being given by the State and Central Governments. He requested the State Governments to make people adhere to the lockdown.
What is a lockdown?
Widespread of COVID-19 has forced the government to declare partial or complete lockdown in the affected areas.
Lockdown is an emergency protocol that prevents people from leaving a given area. A complete lockdown means one must stay where he/ she are and not exit or enter a building or the given area.
This type of situation allows for essential supplies, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks to continue to serve the people. All non-essential activities remain suspended during the entire period.
India, at the moment, is not under complete lockdown. However, several travel advisories were issued, public places have been shut and Rail and intercity bus services have been suspended throughout the country. Cab services have also been suspended in some of the places of the country.
The essential activities
The government has notified a list of essential services and commodities which will be available during lockdown. These are:
- Food and products: Groceries, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairy-related products, loading and unloading of wheat and rice at FCI and State food depots, cattle feed and fodder.
- Medical: Medicines and other pharmaceuticals, health services, manufacturing of health and medical equipment.
- Other Services: Newspapers, banks and ATMs, post offices, telecom, petrol and diesel pumps
- Household services: Electricity and water supply, sanitary services, LPG supply
Penalty for rule violators
Anyone who infringes the rules could be punished with simple imprisonment for a term that may extend up to one month or with a fine which may extend to Rs 200, or with both.
However, the emergency services, like hospitals and pharmacies, will continue to operate as usual.
Photo credit: NDTV