India announces a 21-day lockdown to stop spread of coronavirus

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Soldiers stand guard during lockdown in Delhi, India; Getty

Authorities in India have ordered their billion-plus population to stay inside for three weeks, in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown as a measure to cut the growing number of fatalities due to the epidemic.

The restrictions came into force at midnight local time (18:30 GMT) and will be enforced for 21 days.

“There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” Mr Modi said in a televised address.

He appealed for people not to panic – but crowds quickly mobbed stores in the capital, Delhi, and other cities.

The new measures follow a sharp increase in cases in recent days. There have been 519 confirmed cases across India and 10 reported deaths.

India – which has a population of 1.3bn – joins a growing list of countries that have imposed similar measures including France, Paraguay, etc.

Nearly 400,000 people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, and around 17,000 have died.

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