On Saturday, April 11, Delhi state Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal claimed that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to extend the nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown past Tuesday, April 14, the date on which the lockdown is slated to expire. The federal government did not immediately confirm Modi's alleged decision, reporting only that it was still considering states' proposals vis-à-vis the national lockdown, most of which request a two-week extension of the lockdown measures. It was not immediately reported when a final decision to extend the national lockdown measures would be announced.
Earlier, on Thursday, April 9, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that the ongoing lockdown in Odisha state, initially scheduled to last until Tuesday, April 14, would be extended until Thursday, April 30, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the region. The measure was enacted as the country awaits an extension of the ongoing suspension of rail and air traffic by the central government, as well as the 21-day national lockdown, which came into effect on Tuesday, March 24. Only essential services remain operational; all shops, offices, markets, and places of worship are closed and interstate bus and train services are suspended. A ban on international commercial passenger flights is also ongoing until at least Tuesday, April 14. Cargo operations and flights with prior approval are exempt from the restrictions.
Separately, on Wednesday, April 8, New Delhi, Mumbai, and the states of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha made the use of face masks mandatory in public spaces. Authorities announced on Wednesday, April 8, that 15 districts of Uttar Pradesh state, which are believed to be hotspots of COVID-19 transmission, would remain under lockdown orders until at least Wednesday, April 15. During this period, food and medicine supplies will be delivered as shops and markets have been ordered to close. All residents of the districts under lockdown are asked to remain at home at all times, except for health department officials and those involved in the making or delivery of essential supplies. The following districts are under lockdown: Sitapur, Maharajganj, Basti, Bareilly, Bulandhshahr, Firozabad, Saharanpur, Shamli, Varanasi, Kanpur, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Ghaziabad, and Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida).
As of April 11, over 8000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in India, including 288 deaths. Further international spread of COVID-19 is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.