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On Sunday, March 22, 2020, millions of Indians stayed home after Prime Minister Narendra Modi established the janta curfew (town curfew), an unprecedented curfew from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. to reduce the risk of spreading the potentially fatal COVID-19, a disease caused by the new coronavirus.
Most public transport stopped working and most businesses and services remained closed during the curfew, with the exception of essential goods businesses and emergency services. The Prime Minister asked the population to stay home and to leave only in emergencies. However, Internet users wondered if these measures would be enough to put a stop to the spread of this disease in a country with such a large population. In the state of Maharastra, whose capital is Bombay, the curfew was extended until Monday morning 23.
In a few minutes from now, the #JantaCurfew commences.
Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against COVID-19 menace. The steps we take now will help in the times to come.
– Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 22, 2020
In a few minutes the janta curfew (curfew of the town).
Let's be part of this curfew, which will be of incredible help in the fight against the threat of COVID-19. The steps we take now will help us in the future.
Stay home and take care of yourself.
In general, the town abided by the curfew and published images of empty streets and bridges from their houses and hotel rooms.
(If u are not from Bangalore, you won't appreciate what a miracle this is) pic.twitter.com/ejfeLZIoLR
– Shannu Kaw (@ShannuKaw) March 22, 2020
The Marathahalli Bridge right now! Thank you to the people of Bangalore for following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's request!
(If you are not from Bangalore, you will not appreciate that this is a miracle).
– Samir Abbas (@TheSamirAbbas) March 22, 2020
Janta curfew: Bombay today. 👍
– ANIL BOHRA (@ AnilBohra30) March 22, 2020
Responsible citizens in Bhander, Pali and Rayastán: no one is outside.
– Manish Shukla (@manishmedia) March 22, 2020
Video that I took at Connaught Place at 9:00 today. There is nobody in the street. Delhi people stay in their houses.
COVID-19 in India
As of March 22, 2020, India declared 345 cases of COVID-19. This figure is increasing. So far, six deaths have been recorded. In a country with a population of more than 1.37 billion people, extreme preventive measures are essential to halt the spread of the virus.
The measures taken by the Indian Government include the prohibition of entry of people from countries of the European Union, Turkey and the United Kingdom from March 18, 2020. All the passenger train services in the country were suspended until 31 March, although freight trains will continue to operate. Local buses and subway services in cities like Bombay and some suburban areas have also been suspended.
Since March 15, department stores, shopping malls, gyms, theaters, institutes, schools and universities in major cities have been closed. The population was asked to stay at home, and some companies have published a government circular requesting that they guarantee all their employees the possibility of working from home and that they prevent more than 35 employees from being together in the workplace at the same time.
All persons arriving at airports in India will be searched. For those without symptoms, a 14-day quarantine will be suggested. Those who do present symptoms will be identified with a stamp on the hand with the date from which the 14-day quarantine will be mandatory. Those with mild symptoms or fever upon arrival from other countries will also be quarantined. Indian Army and Sports Ministry facilities will be earmarked to be used as quarantine centers as a complement to hospital facilities. The Government also reopened a hospital in Bangalore and made it the first place in the country exclusively for the treatment of COVID-19. In addition, India evacuated more than 600 citizens of Italy.
More than 70 analysis centers were established throughout the country. Private analysis centers will also be available in the short term. The Government issued some regulations stating that the price of the analysis in a private center should not exceed 4500 rupees (approximately 60 US dollars).
Indian Council of Medical Research D-G Dr Balram Bhargava holds press briefing on # COVID19, says ICMR is encouraging private laboratories to set up facilities to test for the novel coronavirus pic.twitter.com/X7Vb3gKmX6
– WION (@WIONews) March 17, 2020
At a press conference on COVID-19, Dr. Balram Bhargava of the Indian Council for Medical Research D-G, says that the Council encourages private laboratories to have facilities for testing for the new coronavirus.
Extension of janta curfew
Maharastra's head of government announced on March 22 that the curfew would extend until Monday morning, and that the entire state would be under section 144 as of March 23, 2020. Section 144 restricts meetings of four or more people. He also added that the landing of international flights in Bombay will not be allowed until March 31, 2020.
The states of Karnataka, Punjab and 75 other districts that had COVID-19 cases (out of a total of 720 districts in the country) extended the confinement until March 31.
In the communiqué to declare the curfew, Prime Minister Modi asked the people to applaud as a sign of appreciation and thanks to those who are working in the essential services sector, including medical services; food, dairy and production distribution centers; and aviation. This request was received with mixed feelings and some criticism.
Thank you @airindiain senior pilots, Capt Chauhan and entire crew for the Rome evacuation of Indians and for risking your life at the front line. This evening at 5 pm a big clank on your thali for them too please folks #JantaCurfew pic.twitter.com/p9Kt9HBHYb
– barkha dutt (@BDUTT) March 22, 2020
Thanks to Air India's experienced pilots, Captain Chauhan and his entire crew for proceeding to evacuate Indian citizens in Rome, putting their lives at risk. This afternoon at 5:00 p.m., a very loud applause for them.
What was expected?
🔸Expanding CoVid Testing
🔸Good Financial Package
What was announced?
🔸1 day #JantaCurfew
🔸5 PM – 5 Min Balcony Applause
🔸No Panic Buying
PM said it's a war-like situation.
We should have taken war-like measures, not usual gimmicks!
– Srivatsa (@srivatsayb) March 19, 2020
What did we expect?
🔸More analysis for COVID-19.
Gratuito Free treatment.
🔸Good financial package.
What was announced?
🔸Janta curfew: a curfew day.
🔸A applause from the balconies for five minutes at 5:00 p.m.
🔸Order to stop hoarding.
The Prime Minister said that we are in a situation similar to wartime.
Therefore, measures similar to those taken in times of war are needed, not the same tricks as always!
I support the Junta curfew and I will also be clapping from my window this evening at 5pm.
But, India also urgently needs
1. Mass testing kits and testing capacity
2. Ventilators and medical infrastructure
3. Isolation wards in every private + public hospital
4. Free treatment
– Faye DSouza (@fayedsouza) March 22, 2020
I am in favor of the curfew curfew board and I'm going to join in the applause from my window this afternoon at 17:00.
However, India urgently needs:
1. Mass detection equipment and places to carry out the analyzes.
2. Respirators and medical infrastructure.
3. Isolation rooms in all public and private medical centers.
4. Free treatment.
“Washing hands is key to containing coronavirus – but 2.2 billion people lack access to clean water”
Rather than focusing on # JantaCurfewMarch22 , Govt should focus on improving primary health care & access to clean water to every single citizen of India.#CoronavirusPandemic
– Abhijit Mukherjee (@ABHIJIT_LS) March 22, 2020
“Handwashing is key to containing the coronavirus, but 2.2 billion people do not have access to clean water.”
Rather than focusing on the March 22 curfew, the government should improve access to primary care and clean water for every inhabitant of India.
In addition, many people also requested that people resist the temptation to “celebrate” the end of the curfew by taking to the streets. Many have spread this message.
Appeal to my fellow countrymen. Tomorrow night at 21:00 when the #JantaCurfew gets over don’t get out in the streets as if we’ve won the World Cup. It will defeat the 12 hours of good work you did staying indoors 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼
– Ronnie Lahiri (@ronnielahiri) March 21, 2020
I ask my fellow citizens to please, tomorrow at 9:00 p.m., when the day endsanta curfew, do not go out into the streets as if we had won the World Cup. We will throw away the 12 hours of work we did when we stayed home. 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼
Actions taken by the Government and citizens of India over the next few weeks will be crucial in slowing the spread of the virus.