Coronavirus

Coronavirus puts over 1 billion people in India on 21-day lockdown to combat spread

Key Points
  • Streets in India normally bustling with people and traffic stayed empty Wednesday as the country of 1.3 billion people endured the first day of a national lockdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the measure Tuesday, saying that people would have to remain in their homes for the next 21 days, with only essential services remaining open.
  • The move is designed to curb the virus's spread and keep the country's already-fragile health system from buckling under a surge of critically ill patients.
A deserted street is pictured during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Bangalore on March 25, 2020.
Manjunath Kiran | AFP | Getty Images

Streets in India normally bustling with people and traffic stayed empty Wednesday as the country of 1.3 billion people endured the first day of a national lockdown brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the new measure Tuesday, saying that people would have to remain in their homes for the next 21 days with only essential services remaining open. The move is designed to curb the virus's spread and keep the country's already-fragile health system from buckling under a surge of critically ill patients.

The government is setting aside $2 billion to bolster India's medical infrastructure and care for those infected with the coronavirus, Modi said. India currently has 716 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

The threat of the virus spreading further, as well as the new lockdown, have also put India's economic growth at risk. The country has already struggled to achieve higher growth and economists are anticipating a further slowdown in GDP.

While the U.S. has seen a slew of states announcing stay-at-home orders, President Donald Trump has not yet ordered a nationwide lockdown like India's. The U.S. has a smaller population than India at 328 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. However, the U.S. has had more cases of the virus, with at least 69,197 confirmed cases and at least 1,046 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins  

The following pictures show what India's lockdown has been like so far:

A Sadhu (Hindu holy man) sits inside a locked temple

A Sadhu (Hindu holy man) sits inside a locked temple as he reads a religious book during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Allahabad on March 25, 2020.
Sanjay Konaojia | AFP | Getty Images

Indian policemen push barricades to place them in the center of a road leading to the historic India Gate

Indian policemen push barricades to place them in the center of a a road leading to historic India Gate, during a one-day nationwide Janata (civil) curfew imposed as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 on March 22, 2020 in New Delhi, India.
Yawar Nazir | Getty Images

A family watches Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation 

A family watches Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address to the nation on a television set on a television at their home in Amritsar on March 24, 2020.
Narinder Nanu | AFP | Getty Images

The deserted Bandra-Worli Sea Link during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown

General view of the deserted BandraWorli Sea Link during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Mumbai on March 25, 2020.
Punit Paranjpe | AFP | Getty Images

Rickshaws sit parked as India begins the lockdown

Hand Rickshaws are parked on a roadside during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Kolkata on March 25, 2020.
Debajyoti Chakraborty | NurPhoto | Getty Images

People stand in white round marks and buy vegetables

People strand the White Round mark area and bay the Vegetables during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Kolkata on March 25, 2020.
Debajyoti Chakraborty | NurPhoto | Getty Images

 An Indian woman wearing a protective mask plays with her smartphone at a deserted commercial hub

An Indian woman wearing a protective mask plays with her smart phone in a deserted commercial hub, as nationwide lockdown continues following the coronavirus outbreak on March 25, 2020 in New Delhi, India. Indias Madhya Pradesh state reported its first coronavirus-related death on Wednesday taking death toll across the country due to the virus to 11.
Yawar Nazir | Getty Images

On Day 2 of the lockdown, crowds still gather in a marketplace in New Delhi

Indian shopkeepers and customers are seen in a crowded Mandi (market place), as nationwide lockdown continues over the highly contagious novel coronavirus on March 26, 2020 in New Delhi, India.
Yawar Nazir | Getty Images

A Sikh sewadar (volunteer) walks at the deserted Golden Temple

A Sikh sewadar (volunteer) walks at the deserted Golden Temple during the first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Amritsar on March 25, 2020.
Narinder Nanu | AFP | Getty Images

A deserted road in Kolkata, India

This aerial photograph taken on March 25, 2020 shows a deserted road, as a nationwide lockdown continues after the coronavirus outbreak on March 25, 2020 in Kolkata, Eastern India.
Debajyoti Chakraborty | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Buses parked in Kolkata on the first day of the lockdown

The first day of a 21-day government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Kolkata on March 25, 2020.
Debajyoti Chakraborty | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Indians practice social distancing as they line up to purchase goods in Ahmedabad

Customers stand on circles marked on the ground to maintain social distancing as they wait to enter the Reliance Mart mall during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus in Ahmedabad on March 26, 2020.
Sam Panthaky | AFP | Getty Images