There was no rush at India's busiest airports, no vehicles on the roads and no worshipper at places of worship on Wednesday when the country woke up to a nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to control the spread of the deadly novel Coronavirus, which shows no signs of abating yet.
The Home Ministry has directed all states and union territories to set up a 24*7 control rooms/offices with helplines on state and district level to address any undue problem faced by the providers of goods and services.
Delhi: Jhandewalan Mandir remains closed for devotees amid #CoronavirusLockdown, on the 1st day of 'Chaitra Navratri',today. The temple authorities have put a notice board saying 'the temple will remain closed from 21st March till further notice as per the guidelines of the govt' pic.twitter.com/jig0z18JhP— ANI (@ANI) March 25, 2020
On Tuesday night, the prime minister addressed the nation, lauding people for making the "janata curfew" a grand success, adding, more measures were needed to deal with the crisis facing the country.
"If the situation is not handled in these 21 days, the country and your family could go back by 21 years. If the situation is not handled in these 21 days, several families will get devastated forever," he said underlining the massive danger the coronavirus poses.
Kolkata: Domestic flights to remain suspended from today; visuals from Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport. International flight services were suspended on March 22. pic.twitter.com/8zJi5mi39e— ANI (@ANI) March 25, 2020
"Jaan hai toh jahan hai (the world exists only when we live)," he said, recalling a Hindi idiom to stress on the significance of his appeal.
The Centre and state governments have taken measures to ensure that the supply of all essential items continues smoothly, he said, seeking to allay apprehensions among people about the availability of food and other essential provisions.
"My fellow citizens, there is no need to panic. Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this," he tweeted after his speech.
The number of people infected with the novel coronavirus worldwide has exceeded 372,000, over 16,000 have died, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in its daily coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation report.
Of the 372,757 cases, most have been registered in Europe -- more than 195,000 cases. The global death toll has reached 16,231, of which more than 10,000 were in the European region.