India has overtaken Brazil to become the country with the world's the second highest number of coronavirus infections after the United States. It now has more than 2.4 million cases and nearly 72.000 people have died.
India has surpassed Russia as the country with the 3rd highest number of coronavirus infections. New cases hit a record-high in each of the last three days, bringing the Indian health ministry tally to about 690000. Our South Asia editor Anbarasan Ethirajan says it's very difficult to enforce a lockdown in India. The authorities, what they are saying is indirectly that we have to live with the virus, because a country like India cannot afford to stay in a lockdown mode for a long time, because many people complain that if we don't die of coronavirus, we will die of hunger，because we have hundred million people depending on the daily wages, they have to find work so that they can find their meal.
India declares 21-day 'total lockdown' as coronavirus cases rise
Just as China, where the first epicenter of the coronavirus, began to loosen some controls, neighboring India ordered its 1.3 billion people – the world's second biggest population – to stay at home for 21 days.
This order is the largest lockdown to be issued so far, meaning that 2.6 billion people are now under some form of movement restriction around the globe, about a third of the world's population.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the nation that the lockdown was "very necessary to break the chain of coronavirus."
"To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family [...] every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown," Modi said in a televised address.
He appealed for people not to panic, assuring that essential supplies will be provided by the central government. But crowds quickly mobbed stores in the capital, Delhi, and other cities.
India has already severed international flight links and will stop domestic air services at midnight in a bid to stem the spread.
India has confirmed relatively few cases of COVID-19 so far, but there has been a sharp increase to 519 infections, including 10 deaths. Health officials said that the coronavirus was spreading out of big cities, where it first appeared, into smaller towns. Researchers predicted that more than a million people in India could be infected with the coronavirus by mid-May.
One possible reason for the comparatively low number of the COVID-19 cases for now is its low nucleic acid test capacity – 60,000 to 70,000 per week. In comparison, the UK says it is increasing its test capacity to 25,000 a day.