Narendra Modi addressed the afflicted nation in his weekly radio address. He asked for his country’s forgiveness after lockdowns were introduced with less than four hours notice. The Prime Minister has apologised for the sudden and strict stay-at-home measures.
He has said there was “no other way” to stop the spread of coronavirus.
He continued: ”Especially when I look at my poor brothers and sisters, I definitely feel that they must be thinking, what kind of prime minister is this who has placed us in this difficulty?
“I especially seek their forgiveness, possibly many would be angry at me for being locked in their homes.
“I understand your troubles but there was no other way to wage war against coronavirus… It is a battle of life and death and we have to win it.”
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All Indian citizens are banned from leaving their homes for three weeks.
The “total lockdown” measures were introduced by Modi on Tuesday.
All non-essential businesses have been closed, and all mass gatherings have been banned.
The measures are in line with other countries, who have been forced to impose similar closures on businesses.
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The sudden closure has sparked mass exodus from India’s major cities.
Thousands of migrant workers have been seen leaving cities like Delhi to return to their home villages.
This comes after transport has been closed, leaving many poor workers without cars to walk.
One worker died on Saturday after attempting to walk 168 miles to return home.
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India announced a bailout valued at around £19 billion for the country’s poor on Tuesday, including free food and cash handouts for those left furloughed by the virus.
There are concerns the measures won’t reach those who need it most.
Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo – two of the three winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2019 – wrote in the Indian Express saying aid for the poor was needed.
They wrote: “Without that, the demand crisis will snowball into an economic avalanche, and people will have no choice but to defy orders.”
India has reported 1,024 cases of coronavirus early Monday morning.
So far 27 Indian people have passed away as a result of the virus.
India has one of the lowest testing rates in the world, leading to fears there actual number could be higher.
Officials are concerned that an outbreak in the densely populated country could result in a catastrophe.
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