Empty streets of India under lockdown

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published 6 days ago - Duration: 01:32s

Empty streets of India under lockdown

India woke up on Wednesday to a sweeping lockdown of its 1.3 billion people, one of the world's most ambitious efforts to fight the coronavirus, but the order didn't stop crowds of people thronging to stock up at grocery shops and chemists.

Gloria Tso reports.


Empty streets of India under lockdown

Normally bustling Indian streets were quiet Wednesday (March 25), as the country began what's likely the world's biggest coronavirus lockdown.

More than a billion people have been told to stay home for three weeks.

Normally packed roads, busy airports, and other public spaces were all left deserted.

(SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) PARKING AREA MANAGER, NETAJI SUBHASH CHANDRA BOSE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, PRAVEEN KUMAR, SAYING: "It's deserted and very depressing here.

There is nothing to do.

There used to be a lot of activity here but now there is nothing.

It's completely silent.

It's very saddening that this disease has made this situation in our country and in the whole world.

People are facing troubles." After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a midnight lockdown with only hours' notice, people could be seen waiting in long lines stretching outside grocery stores.

(SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) LUCKNOW RESIDENT, MAHESH, SAYING: "We are getting all the essential items in the market.

There is no problem in that case.

We are getting ration, groceries, water, vegetables, everything." India has reported over 500 infections so far, a low tally compared to several other countries.

But Modi and health experts warn that the country could be in danger if harsher measures are not taken.

And the country has far fewer hospital beds than Italy, one of the world's outbreak epicenters.

Police could be seen Wednesday barricading roads and stopping vehicles, restricting the movement of people.

They said 400 cases of lockdown violation had already been reported by Wednesday morning.

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