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24 Mar 2020 | 10:58 AM UTC

India: Government implements nationwide lockdown March 24 /update 15

Government implements nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 March 24; further spread of the virus expected over the near term



On Tuesday, March 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown to prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) starting at midnight (local time) on Tuesday and continuing for 21 days. Individuals in India will be banned from leaving their homes during the period of the lockdown.

Domestic flights will be suspended in India starting at 00:01 on Wednesday, March 25; international arrivals and departures have been suspended since Sunday, March 22.

To date, there have been more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India, including ten associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.


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 global 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 non-essential 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 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 disease.