Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday his country will go on lockdown for 21 days starting Wednesday, restricting the movements of some 1.3 billion people in a bid to prevent further spread of the novel coronavirus.
"To save India and every Indian, there will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," Modi was quoted as saying by local media. The premier said on Twitter there was no need to panic and people should refrain from hoarding supplies, as all necessities including medicines would remain available through government coordination.
With the lockdown decree, public transportation including international and domestic flights as well as trains will likely be suspended for the most part, affecting people's movement significantly.
In an address to the nation, Modi said the latest measure is aimed at preventing further spread of the coronavirus in the world's second-most populous country.
People in capital New Delhi and other areas are already restricted from going out except to shop for daily necessities.