Countries around the world are increasingly adopting sweeping measures to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, including full lockdowns, shutting down airports, imposing travel restrictions and completely sealing their borders.
The outbreak of the coronavirus has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
India’s prime minister ordered all 1.3 billion people in the country to stay inside their homes for three weeks starting Wednesday — the biggest and most severe action undertaken anywhere to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“There will be a total ban of coming out of your homes,” the prime minister, Narendra Modi, announced on television Tuesday night, giving Indians less than four hours’ notice before the order took effect at 12:01 a.m.
“Every state, every district, every lane, every village will be under lockdown,” Mr. Modi said.
The breadth and depth of such a challenge is staggering in a country where hundreds of millions of citizens are destitute and countless millions live in packed urban areas with poor sanitation and weak public health care.
The nationwide lockdown followed a series of decrees that had been steadily growing more stringent, and some people had been expecting Mr. Modi to announce something even more severe, like a nationwide state of emergency and declaration of martial law.
Borders Sealed, and Shops are shutdown
However, hours before Mr. Modi’s televised address, the long straight boulevards of New Delhi, the capital, resembled deserted racetracks. All the stores in the centre of town were shut, but in the poorer neighbourhoods just outside of the city, it was a different story.
People were still out, jostling with each other in narrow lanes and still crowding into bus shelters, sleeping eight to a room in shabby tenements, and showing the impossibility of maintaining social distance.
Long lines of migrant workers streamed out of recently closed railway stations, with thousands of men, almost none wearing masks, marching close together to far-off villages, potentially spreading the virus deep into the countryside.
“SERVICES NOT AVAILABLE TO PUBLIC”
- No public transport service will be allowed, including private buses, taxis, auto-rickshaw, and e-rickshaw.
- All shops, workshops, godowns, weekly markets, offices, commercial establishment, factory, will remain shut.
- Borders between the states will be sealed. Only the transportation of essential goods and items among the states will be allowed.
- Inter-states buses, trains, metro trains will remain suspended.
- International flights coming to Delhi are being suspended.
- Construction activities will not be allowed and religious places will be shut as well.
- Private offices will remain closed.
Maharashtra Police on Thursday found over 300 migrant workers holed up inside two container trucks meant for carrying essential commodities from Telangana to Rajasthan.
The shocked officials found that the workers, who hailed from Rajasthan, had chosen this clandestine and dangerous mode of travel as they were desperate to return home.
A team of police and revenue department officials stopped two container trucks coming from Telangana in the border district of Yavatmal in Maharashtra for inspection.
Migrant labourers elsewhere in the country like in Kerala and Karnataka who are yearning to go home in the absence of any work to make a living say they have no choice but to stay back and be at the mercy of authorities.
With hundreds of hapless daily-wagers trudging along desolate inter-state highways on the way back to Rajasthan from adjoining states, mainly Gujarat, the Gehlot government is facilitating their return home from the border after screening for any coronavirus infection.
The lockdown has triggered large-scale movement of migrant labourers and workers hailing from Rajasthan living outside the state including Ahmedabad and other cities in Gujarat to where they had migrated for work, said Rajasthan government officials. The Rajasthan border is around 225 km from Ahmedabad.
The migrant workers have preferred to return to their home state as some of them said they cannot even find food in Ahmedabad with hotels closed. Most of them are daily wage workers who cannot afford to pay house rent too, when there is no work.
“Problems faced by Migrant workers of Rajasthan”:
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and the 21-day nationwide lockdown, thousands of migrant workers from Rajasthan working in different parts of Gujarat have started walking back to their native places in the absence of any transport facility. Gujarat Police have been trying to convince them to abide by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to avoid travelling. A Congress leader from Ahmedabad has asked the party- led government in Rajasthan to arrange some transportation after these workers reach the Gujarat-Rajasthan border near Shamlaji town of Arvalli district, also known as the Ratanpur border.
ALSO READ THESE POSTS:-
Radheshyam Patel, a native of Rajasthan’s Dungarpur district and working in Ahmedabad, said there is no point in staying here without any income.
Gujarat Migrant Workers‘ Congress president Ashok Punjabi claimed that over 50,000 workers left on foot from Ahmedabad alone to reach their homes in Rajasthan.
Many migrant labourers started their journey on foot from as far as Surat, as they have been asked by their employers and landlords to leave, said Punjabi.