Since midnight Tuesday March 24, India has been fully locked. 1.3 billion people are confined to their homes for twenty-one days. Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the decision a few hours earlier in a televised speech to the nation, asking that "Each district, each lane, each village" be cloistered. "You have to forget what going out means. The only way to protect ourselves is not to leave our home no matter what, " he repeated several times, before warning "One step outside your home can bring serious coronavirus disease back to your home". Narendra Modi said the government was providing the equivalent of an additional 1.83 billion euros for health services.
The head of government acted gradually, presumably too much, as the epidemic progressed relatively slowly for several weeks in the second most populous country on the planet. He first closed the external borders by banning international commercial flights from infected countries and tracking down passengers. But he did not organize a test campaign, one of the keys to success against the spread of the coronavirus, and he maintained domestic flights. Faced with the constant progression of cases of contamination, he resolved to propose, on Sunday March 22, a "people's curfew", a kind of dress rehearsal. Many citizens continued to go out and gather, unaware of the risks.
This gradation of measures undoubtedly prepared the minds, but it had the effect of causing a significant migration. Urban residents have taken the last available means of transport by storm, clustering in stations, airports, bus stations, feeding the transmission chain back to their village. On March 23, the twenty-eight states and eight territories of the Union had then disparately imposed partial or total containment.
Promiscuity, lack of hygiene
Narendra Modi's decision unifies the systems and leaves no room for incivility and population movements at a time when the epidemic is accelerating. Officially, the country has passed the 500 contamination mark. Experts believe, however, that these figures are very underestimated. India hardly ever screens, and especially half of the population lives in precarious or isolated conditions.