Addressing the nation, PM Narendra Modi made an appeal to people across India. He urged all countrymen to follow ‘Janta Curfew’ on Sunday, 22nd March, for 14 hours, from 7 AM to 9 PM.
Coronavirus has become a pandemic. The request comes in the wake of increasing numbers of patients infected with COVID-19. During his address to the nation on Thursday, the PM also explained the importance of social distancing and urged citizens to stay vigilant. India seems to be following the path of other affected countries, with numbers doubling every 2.5 days. Unfortunately, India has been testing far less than other countries and thus numbers are expected to climb steeply in the coming days. Going by the transmission pattern of other countries, there has been a surge in the number of positive cases around the third week since the first case was reported. According to public health sector experts, the objective is now to flatten the curve of the spread of the virus, and the PM’s announcement of a voluntary one-day curfew is seen widely as a trial run to a potential national shut down.
The move is not expected to bring down the transmission of the disease but help people mentally prepare. A complete shutdown will affect workers and businesses across society for weeks, and Sunday could be a test day to prepare, say public health experts. Sitting at home for half a day is not expected to bring down the transmission of the disease. A curfew of 14 hours is not going to make much of an impact, the move is to prepare people for staying at home, maintaining distance, which may be needed in the future. In case, we do need more mandatory lockdowns in the future, India being a liberal democracy would have to figure out how to implement them.
Lockdowns can also not be implemented at a national level, and these measures will have to be taken at the local level considering the disease spread in the area. For now, ‘Janta Curfew’ is more of a communication and symbolic exercise.
[India] now has its own Corvid-19 tracking website with live updates. Click Here.