Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, imposed a 21-day nationwide lockdown in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Addressing to the nation on Tuesday, Modi said, “If we listen to the health experts, we know that 21 days are crucial to break the cycle of transmission.”
“For a few days forget what it means to go out,” he added. “Today’s decision of a nationwide lockdown draws a line outside your home.”
India has been struggling to contain the healthcare and economic fallout from the pandemic. Indian public health officials have reported 562 confirmed cases and 10 deaths so far. The South Asian country could become the next global hotspot for the virus.
Modi also allocated about $2 billion for additional healthcare measures.
CEO at the Bombay Stock Exchange Ashish Chauhan said the stock market would remain open through the lockdown.
Last week, the Indian government implemented a near complete lockdown of its major cities, suspending flight, train and long distance bus services.
Epidemiologist Suresh Kumar Rathi from the Public Health Foundation of India said, “It’s a war of survival between us and the virus. Three weeks of complete lockdown is critical for India because it has a high density of population and limited resources.”
Modi also said the amount set aside to combat coronavirus would be allocated to testing facilities, purchasing personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professionals, and expanding isolation beds, ventilators and other essential equipment.
He said state governments will ensure essential health services and supplies, adding that hospitals, drugstores, and establishments engaged in manufacturing medications, vaccines, sanitizers, masks and other medical devices will be remained open during the lockdown.
The allocation for health has come at a time when the government’s income has already been under pressure due to falling tax collections. The article originally published in Bloomberg.