2020 coronavirus pandemic in India

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2020 coronavirus pandemic in India
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in India.svg
Map of the pandemic in India (as of 01 April).
  100+ confirmed cases
  50–99 confirmed cases
  10–49 confirmed cases
  1–9 confirmed cases
COVID-19 Death Cases in India.png
Map of deaths due to the pandemic in India (as of 01 April).
  10–49 death cases
  1–9 death cases
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2[1]
First caseThrissur, Kerala[2]
Arrival date30 January 2020
(1 year, 7 months, 4 weeks and 1 day)[3]
OriginWuhan, Hubei, China[4]
Confirmed cases1,965[5]
(including 51 foreign nationals)
Active cases1,764[5]
(including 1 migrated case)
23 states and 6 union territories[5]
Official website

The first case of the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic in India was reported on 30 January 2020, originating from China. As of 28 September 2021, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have confirmed a total of 1,965 cases, 151 recoveries (including 1 migration) and 50 deaths in the country.[5] Experts suggest the number of infections could be a substantial underestimate, as India's testing rates are among the lowest in the world.[6] The infection rate of COVID-19 in India is reported to be 1.7, significantly lower than in the worst affected countries.[7]

The outbreak has been declared an epidemic in more than a dozen states and union territories, where provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 have been invoked, and educational institutions and many commercial establishments have been shut down. India has suspended all tourist visas, as a majority of the confirmed cases were linked to other countries.[8]

On 22 March 2020, India observed a 14-hour voluntary public curfew at the insistence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government followed it up with lockdowns in 75 districts where COVID cases had occurred as well as all major cities.[9][10] Further, on 24 March, the prime minister ordered a nationwide lockdown for 21 days, affecting the entire 1.3 billion population of India.[11]

The World Health Organisation executive director Michael Ryan said that India had "tremendous capacity" to deal with the coronavirus outbreak and, as the second most populous country, will have enormous impact on the world's ability to deal with it.[12]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

Timeline of the pandemic spread across India (since 30 January 2020)

Template:2019–20 coronavirus pandemic data/India medical cases chart The country reported its first three cases in Kerala, all of whom were students who had returned from Wuhan, China.[13] The transmission escalated in the month of March, after several cases were reported all over the country, most of which were linked to people with a travel history to affected countries. On 12 March, a 76-year-old man who had returned from Saudi Arabia became the first victim of the virus in the country.[14] Confirmed cases crossed 100 on 15 March,[15] 500 on 24 March,[16] 1,000 on 28 March,[17] 1,500 on 31 March[18] and 2,000 on 2 April.[19] The death toll crossed 50 on 1 April.[20]

On 31 March, a Tablighi Jamaat religious congregation event that took place in Delhi in early March emerged as a new virus hotspot after numerous cases across the country were traced back to the event. 281 foreigners among 1830 people who had been staying at the mosque since 8 March were found by Delhi Police in Delhi's Nizamuddin Markaz Mosque where the event was held. About 200 people have shown symptoms of the disease of which, 53 people have been confirmed positive in Delhi so far.[21] Over 128 cases across the country were found to be linked to the event.[22] Tamil Nadu reported more than 190 cases in a day, all who had been to the event.[23] This incident has led to a war footing search for the attendees across the nation.

Government responses[edit source | edit]

'Prepare, but don't panic' has been India's guiding mantra in dealing with the virus outbreak. Our region has reported less than 150 coronavirus cases, but we need to remain vigilant. Step-by-step approach helped avoid panic, made special efforts to reach out to vulnerable groups.

— Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the video conference with SAARC nations, 15 March 2020.[24]

Communication[edit source | edit]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's televised address about Coronavirus on 19 March 2020
Modi's address about COVID-19 on 24 March 2020

On 19 March, during a 30-minute live telecast, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked all citizens to observe 'Janata Curfew' (people's curfew) on 7 am to 9 pm on 22 March. During this curfew he asked everyone, except those involved in essential services, to stay at home. He also asked people to avoid routine checkups and elective surgeries to reduce the burden on the health system. He announced the formation of a COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force. To acknowledge the work being done by various sectors during the outbreak, he urged people to gather in front of their own doors, windows or balconies at 5 pm and applaud them for five minutes. State and local authorities were told to blow the siren to remind people about the same.[25] On 24 March, Modi announced a nationwide lockdown from midnight of that day, for a period of 21 days.[26] He also announced a 15,000 crore (US$2.1 billion) aid for the healthcare sector. This money would be used for developing testing facilities, PPEs, ICUs, Ventilators and for training medical workers.[27]

SAARC conference[edit source | edit]

On 13 March, Modi proposed that SAARC nations jointly fight the pandemic, an idea that was welcomed by the leaders of Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan.[28] On 15 March, after a video conference of SAARC leaders,[24] he allocated 74 crore (US$10 million) of funds classified as COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the SAARC countries.[24]

Legal announcements[edit source | edit]

On 11 March 2020, the Cabinet Secretary of India announced that all states and UTs should invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.[29][30]

On 14 March the union government declared the pandemic as a "notified disaster" under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, enabling states to spend a larger part of funds from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to fight the virus.[31][32]

Preventive measures[edit source | edit]

Awareness poster released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

Protective measures were first applied in January. The Government of India issued a travel advisory to its citizens, particularly for Wuhan, where about 500 Indian medical students study.[33] It directed seven major international airports to perform thermal screening of passengers arriving from China.[34][35]

By early to mid March the government had drawn up plans to deal with a worsening of the pandemic in the country which includes seven ministries working together to set up additional quarantine and treatment facilities across the country. States and twenty ministries including home, defence, railways, labour, minority affairs, aviation and tourism have been informed of the containment plan.[36] Plans to avoid a panic like situation have also been made. The Ministry of Textiles has been assigned the task of making sure the availability of protective and medical materials. The Department of Pharmaceuticals is tasked with making sure of the availability of essential medicines. Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has been asked to ensure availability of essentials.[37]

On 15 March, the Bharatiya Janata Party conducted a public campaign to raise awareness about coronavirus in Rajasthan.[38][39]

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has adopted precautions against the pandemic in its three facilities in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The facilities have suspended bio-metric fingerprint scanning, disabled entrance turnstiles and limited internal meetings and travel to a minimum while stepping up medical surveillance. However, mission schedules were not affected.[40]

On 17 March, The Government of India issued an advisory urging to all Indian states to take social distancing measures as a preventive strategy for implementation till 31 March.[41] A government directive was issued asking all paramilitary forces (CAPFs) to get into battle mode; all non-essential leave has been cancelled.[42][43] A COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force has also been formed.[44][45]

On 27 March, The Tamil Nadu government has issued appointment orders to 1508 lab technicians, 500 doctors and 1000 nurses with immediate effect in view of the current status of corona virus. With this, orders have also been given to increase 200 new ambulances in the state.[46]

The government of Assam started making isolation facilities in Sarusajai stadium and Nehru Stadium in Guwahati.[47][48]

Helpline[edit source | edit]

Union and state governments have setup national and state helpline numbers.[49]

Travel and entry restrictions[edit source | edit]

On 3 March 2020, the Indian government suspended the issuing of new visas and visas already issued for nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan.[50] On 4 March 2020, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, announced compulsory screening of all international passengers arriving in India. He also said that so far, 589,000 people have been screened at airports, over one million screened at borders with Nepal and around 27,000 were currently under community surveillance.[51][52] The government shall also now start universal screening for all passengers flying into India from abroad. Earlier, only passengers coming in from China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia were checked.

On 11 March 2020, the Indian government suspended all visas to India effective from 12:00 GMT on 13 March 2020 except diplomatic, official, United Nations/International organisations, employment and project visas till 15 April 2020. India also suspended visa free travel facility for OCI card holder's till 15 April 2020 and all the Indian nationals coming from COVID-19 hit nations after 15 February needed to be quarantined for 14 days.[8]

From 18 March, the entry of travelers from the European Union, United Kingdom and Turkey was banned till 31 March.[53] This was followed by a ban on other countries such as Afghanistan, Philippines, Malaysia.[54]

As a precautionary measure, the Ministry of Home Affairs suspended travel and registration for Sri Kartarpur Sahib temporarily from 16 March till further orders.[55] Sikkim restricted entry of domestic tourists in the state from 17 March and asked those who are already in the state to leave.[56] Himachal Pradesh banned entry of foreign and domestic tourists on 19 March until further notice.[57] Other states followed such as Uttarakhand, which has also banned tourists till further orders.[58] Punjab banned the use of public transport as of 21 March.[59]

Closure of international borders[edit source | edit]

Closedown and curfews[edit source | edit]

  • On 5 March, amidst a surge in fresh cases being confirmed in Delhi NCR, the Government of Delhi announced that all primary schools across Delhi would be shut until 31 March as a precaution.[64]
  • On 7 March, primary schools in Jammu district and Samba district were closed down until 31 March after two suspected cases with "high viral load" were reported in Jammu.[65]
  • On 9 March, district collector of Pathanamthitta district of Kerala declared three days long holidays for all educational institutions in the district.[66] Karnataka declared indefinite holiday for all kindergarten and pre-primary schools in Bangalore.[67] The holiday was extended to all primary schools up to fifth grade after a confirmed case was reported in the city.[68]
  • On 10 March, Kerala announced closure of all schools and colleges across the state until 31 March, with effect from 11 March.[69]
  • On 12 March, the Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal announced that all schools, colleges and cinema halls in New Delhi would be closed till the end of March and all public places disinfected as a precautionary measure.[70]
  • On 12 March, the Chief Minister of Karnataka B. S. Yediyurappa announced that all educational institutions, malls, cinema halls and pubs would be shut for a week across the state. He also issued prohibitory orders on public events such as parties and weddings.[71] The Government of Odisha, declaring the outbreak a "disaster", announced the closure of educational institutions and cinema halls until the end of the month, as well as prohibition on non-essential official gatherings.[72] The Government of Maharashtra declared the outbreak to be an epidemic in the cities of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. It announced that all malls, cinema halls, swimming pools and gyms in these cities will be closed until 31 March.[73]
  • On 13 March, the Punjab and Chhattisgarh governments declared holidays in all schools and colleges till 31 March.[74][75] Manipur government announced that all schools in the state, where examination are not being held would remain closed till 31 March.[76]
  • On 14 March, the Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur declared that all educational institutions and theaters would remain closed until 31 March as a precautionary measure in view of the threat of the coronavirus.[77] Also, in the West Bengal government announced that all educational institutions will be closed till 31 March, however the board examinations will be conducted.[78] Maharashtra government closed shopping malls, swimming pools, movie theatres, gyms and asked all schools and colleges in the state's urban areas to remain close till 31 March 2020.[79][80] Government of Rajasthan announced to close all educational institutions, gyms, and cinema halls till 30 March, however ongoing school and college exams will continue.[81]
  • On 15 March, IIT, Bombay suspended all academic activities till 29 March.[82] In Goa chief minister Pramod Sawant declared that all educational institutions would remain closed until 31 March. While the examinations of the 10th and 12th Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education will be held as per schedule.[83] Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation shut down Jijamata Udyaan till further orders.[84] The Gujarat government announced that all schools, colleges, cinema halls will be closed till 31 March, however the board examinations will be conducted.[85] Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) has postponed all the recruitment exams till 31 March.[86] Vaishno Devi Shrine Board issued an advisory asking non-resident Indians and foreigners not to visit the temple for 28 days after landing in India.[87] The Tamil Nadu and Telangana governments declared closure of schools, malls and theatres till 31 March.[88][89] Ministry of Culture shut down all monuments and museums under Archaeological Survey of India till 31 March.[90]
  • On 17 March, schools, colleges and multiplexes in Uttar Pradesh were shut down till 2 April and on-going examinations were postponed.[91] BMC ordered private firms in Mumbai to function "only at 50% of their staff capacity or face action under section 188 of the IPC".[92] Rajasthan government banned the gathering of more than 50 people in public places till 31 March.[93] Important tourist destinations in Tamil Nadu were locked down. Authorities in Nilgiris district ordered the closure of tourist sites including Ooty and the tourists staying in hotels and resorts were given 24 hours to leave the city.[94] In Maharashtra, government offices were closed down for seven days.[95] Chandigarh administration ordered the closure of shopping malls, cinema halls, gyms, nightclubs, swimming pools, coaching centres, spas, creches and video game parlours till 31 March. It also banned gatherings of more than a 100 people and census work was postponed.[96] At the same time, Dera chiefs were asked to postpone all religious events till 31 March.[97] The GoM has also directed that no more than 50 people are allowed to gather at any place other than weddings.[98] Pondicherry shut down schools, colleges, cinemas and gyms till 31 March.[99] Mumbai Police ordered the closure of pubs, bars and discotheques till 31 March.[100]
  • On 18 March, District Magistrate of Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir said that the entry of all foreign tourists has been banned in the entire union territory.[101] On the other hand, the Directorate of Floriculture, Parks and Horticulture of the state has also extended the Bagh-e-Bahu Garden to the general public from 18 to 31 March to keep the situation under control in the Union Territory.[102][103] Government of Andhra Pradesh announced closure of all educational institutions till 31 March.[104]
  • On 23 March Chief Minister of Maharashtra announced that borders of all the districts will be closed, and a strict curfew will be implemented statewide.[105]

Lockdown[edit source | edit]

On 22 March, the Government of India decided to completely lockdown 82 districts in 22 states and Union Territories of country where confirmed cases have been reported till 31 March.[106] At 6 am on 23 March Delhi will be put under lockdown till at least 31 March. Essential services and commodities were to continue.[107][108] 80 cities including major cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai,[109] Chandigarh[110] and Kolkata were also put under lockdown.[111] Inter-state movements are allowed during the lockdown period. However some states have closed their borders.[112]

On 23 March, union and state governments announced the lockdown of 75 districts where cases were reported.[113]

On 24 March, PM Narendra Modi announced a complete nationwide lockdown, starting from midnight for 21 days.[114]

Evacuations[edit source | edit]

The Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai visiting evacuees at the Coronavirus Quarantine Centre, after completion of their requisite quarantine period, at the ITBP Chhawla Centre, in New Delhi on 13 March 2020.

The Ministry of External Affairs under Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Air India and the Indian Air Force have been successful in evacuating many Indian nationals and certain foreign nationals from the virus effected areas.[115][116][117]

  • On 1 February, India evacuated 324 people which included three minors, 211 students and 110 working professionals from Wuhan region on its first Air India flight evacuation.[118][119]
  • On 2 February, India evacuated a second Air India flight carrying 323 Indians and seven Maldivians from Wuhan region.[120][121]
  • On 7 February, Brazil evacuated 34 Brazilians, four Poles, a Chinese and an Indian national from Wuhan by Air Force planes.[122]
  • On 27 February, Indian Air Force evacuated 112 people from Wuhan, which included 76 Indian nationals and 36 foreign nationals (23 nationals from Bangladesh, 6 from China, 2 each from Myanmar and Maldives and one each from South Africa, USA and Madagascar). This was the third evacuation flight sent by India to Wuhan. India also provided 15 tonnes of medical assistance comprising masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment to China through the same IAF flight.[123][124] On the same day, 124 people – 119 Indians and five nationals from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa and Peru were evacuated from Japan by an Air India flight.[125]
  • On 10 March, Indian Air Force's C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft evacuated 58 Indian pilgrims from Iran, the flight tooks off from Hindon Air Base, Ghaziabad on the evening of 9 March. It also brought back another 44 passengers on 11 March from Iran.[126][127][125]
  • On 11 March, 83 people were evacuated from Italy by Air India. The evacuees were 74 Indian citizens and 9 US citizens of Indian origin. All evacuees were placed under quarantine for 14 days in an army facility.[128]
  • On 15 March, 218 Indians from Italy were evacuated by a special Air India flight. The evacuees brought to New Delhi will be shifted to Indo-Tibetan Border Police's camp in Chhawla area where they will be quarantined for 14 days.[129] Later, 234 Indian nationals including 131 students and 103 pilgrims were evacuated from Iran who were quarantined for 14 days in Indian Army's wellness centre facility in Jaisalmer.[130][131]
  • On 16 March, 53 Indians which includes 52 students and 1 teacher were evacuated from Tehran and Shiraz cities of Iran and were then quarantined at Army wellness centre, Jaisalmer.[132]
  • On 22 March, 263 Indians were evacuted by Air India from Rome, Italy and then were quarantined at Indo-Tibetan Border Police's camp near Delhi.[133]
  • On 29 March, 275 Indians who were evacuted from Iran landed in Jodhpur, and after preliminery screening they were quarantined at Army Welleness Centre Jodhpur.[134]

Committee of Science and Technology[edit source | edit]

The Government of India on 31 March set a Committee of Science and Technology for the immediate response of Covid-19.[135]

Legal action[edit source | edit]

On 9 March, an FIR was lodged against a man in Arunachal Pradesh for allegedly posting misleading information on social media regarding the outbreak.[136] On 16 March, the father of a woman, whose husband had tested positive for coronavirus in Bengaluru, was booked by Agra police for allegedly misleading authorities about the whereabouts of his daughter, who was a suspected patient.[137] On 18 March, a case was registered against the owner of a furniture shop at Bhiwandi in Thane district, Maharashtra for issuing a misleading advertisement which claimed that mattresses sold at his shop cured the disease.[138] Lucknow police lodged an FIR against Bollywood singer, Kanika Kapoor for alleged negligence in compliance of necessary directives post her return from London.[139] On 21 March, a chemist was booked for allegedly selling N95 masks at over four times higher than the fixed price in Himachal Pradesh's Kangra district.[140] On 24 March, a 54-year-old man from Ernakulam, who landed from Chennai at the Cochin International Airport on 23 March, was arrested for refusing to follow instructions given by doctors.[141] A case was registered against a Coca-Cola plant in Himachal Pradesh for operating in violation of lockdown order.[142] 255 people in West Bengal were arrested for violating restriction order and were prosecuted under IPC section 188.[143] A man was arrested for hosting a party during the lockdown in Andhra Pradesh's West Godavari district.[144] Hyderabad traffic police seized 2,480 vehicles for violating the lockdown.[145] On 25 March, two people were booked under sections 353, 188 and other relevant provisions of the IPC and Disaster Management Act, 2005 for allegedly abusing and manhandling policemen during the lockdown at Kalyan in Maharashtra's Thane district.[146] On 26 March, Delhi police arrested a 40-year-old man and seized his scooty for allegedly calling a northeastern woman "coronavirus" and spitting paan at her.[147] On 27 March, an Infosys employee from Bengaluru was arrested for his social media post that encouraged people to venture out and spread the virus.[148] Three people were arrested for circulating a fake audio clip which suggested that 59 fresh cases were reported in Nagpur, Maharashtra.[149] A 29-year-old woman was arrested in Kolkata for allegedly spreading rumors related to the outbreak by posting fake news on social media.[150] Patna police arrested three police officials for allegedly shooting at a driver of a vehicle carrying potatoes and asking for a bribe of 5,000 (US$70).[151]

State government response[edit source | edit]

State governments took various measures to contain the spread of the virus.

Testing and countermeasures[edit source | edit]

Testing[edit source | edit]

Summary of test results
Samples tested 47,951
Tests per 1 million people 35
Tested individuals -
Tested positive 1,637
As of 1 April[152]

The Union Health Ministry's war room and policy making team in New Delhi consists of the ministry's Emergency Medical Response Unit, the Central Surveillance Unit (IDSP), the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and experts from three government hospitals.[153] They are part of policy decisions to decide how coronavirus should be tackled in the country.[153] A cluster-containment strategy is mainly being adopted, similar to how India contained previous epidemics, as well as "breaking the chain of transmission".[153][154][155] 15 labs across India led by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, are testing for the virus, with more labs being trained.[156] On 14 March 65 labs were named capable for testing for the virus (though as of 17 March not all are fully functional.[157][158][159]

On 14 March, scientists at the National Institute of Virology isolated a strain of the novel coronavirus. By doing so, India became the fifth country to successfully obtain a pure sample of the virus after China, Japan, Thailand and the US.[160] The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that isolation of the virus will help towards expediting the development of drugs, vaccines and rapid diagnostic kits in the country.[161] NIV has shared two SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences with GISAID.[162]

Initially, the labs tested samples only from those with a travel history to 12 countries designated as high-risk, or those who have come in contact with anyone testing positive for the coronavirus, or showing symptoms as per the government guidelines.[163][164] On 20 March, the government decided to also include all pneumonia cases, regardless of travel or contact history after the country saw a sharp increase in the number of cases.[165] The first and second confirmatory tests for the virus has been made free by the government.[166] As of 14 March, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) has tested around 5,900 samples from individuals across the country. The number of tests per million in the country was 5 as of 14 March. In comparison, it is 26 in US, 76 in Japan, 1,005 in Italy and 4,099 in South Korea.[158] There are concerns that testing for the virus in India is being inadequately conducted and the need for ramping up the scale of testing is a necessity to understand the real scope of the number of people affected.[167]

The Ministry of Health said that only 10 per cent of test capacity has been utilised per day as of 15 March,[166] claiming that the amount of tests were enough. However experts thought they were not, saying that community transmission may go undetected without adequate testing.[158] They also wanted to add more testing centres by inclusion of private laboratories.[158][164] In mid-March the government authorized accredited private labs to test for the virus.[168]

Testing for community transmission began on 15 March. 65 laboratories of the Department of Health Research and the Indian Council of Medical Research (DHR-ICMR) have started testing random samples of people who exhibit flu-like symptoms and samples from patients without any travel history or contact with infected persons.[169][170] As of 18 March, no evidence of community transmission was found after results of 500 random samples tested negative.[171]

On 17 March, The Union Ministry of Health has decided to allow private pathology labs to test for COVID-19. The ministry official said that only the government lab is allowed to test the coronavirus. By allowing private labs, the work of testing can be doubled. The ministry said that about 60 private labs may soon be allowed for this.[172] Once set up, a person can get COVID-19 test done at a private lab after a qualified physician in a government facility recommends it.[173] The ICMR has appealed to the private labs to offer the tests for free as the government labs do.[172]

On 18 March, A top health ministry official said that a Swiss private company named Roche Diagnostics has been given the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emergency approval to conduct tests for coronavirus. The Indian regulator has given them a licence to conduct diagnostic tests of the virus on 17 March.[174] The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) was assessing giving another firm license while two Indian diagnostic companies have also sought approval for the coronavirus testing kits developed by them.[175] The government has also issued guidelines to cap the cost of sample testing by private labs at ₹4,500.[176]

On 19 March, Dr Ramanan Laxminarayan, director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy stated that India could be facing a "tsunami of cases within a few weeks" as testing increases and the reason for the low number of confirmed cases currently is due to under-testing. He also said that according to mathematical models applied in the US or UK at least 20%-60% of the population will be affected. Applying the same models in India means that at the lower end of the estimate there could be 300 million cases of which 4-8 million could be severe.[177]

111 additional labs for testing became functional on 21 March.[178]

On 24 March, Pune-based molecular diagnostic company Mylab Discovery Solutions became the first Indian company to have received validation for its RT-PCR tests from National Institute of Virology and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The test takes 2.5 hours and the company is looking to price it at around 1,200 (US$17), or Rs 80,000 for a 100 test kit.[179][180]

According to ICMR, 47,951 samples have been tested as of 1 April out of which 1,637 individuals have been confirmed positive.[152]

Treatment[edit source | edit]

In Rajasthan, a combination of anti-malaria, anti-Swine flu and anti-HIV drugs resulted into recovery of three patients in March.[181] In same month, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Cipla corporation, launched a joint venture to develop anti-COVID-19 drugs.[182] Pune based Serum Institute of India is expected to apply for clinical trials of certain strains from Drug Controller General of India. As per company president Adar Poonawalla, a vaccine for COVID-19 will be delivered within an year, however, it may not be effective on 20 to 30% people.[183]

On 23 March, the National Task Force for COVID19 constituted by Indian Council of Medical Research recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine for treatment of COVID19 for high-risk cases.[184]

Impact[edit source | edit]

Commercial establishments[edit source | edit]

On 19 March, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the closure of all restaurants in the capital by 31 March in view of the ever increasing case of coronavirus. He said that there will be a ban on eating in restaurants but food delivery will continue. He also said that 20 or more people will not be allowed to unite anywhere in the state.[185] On 20 March, in Lucknow all restaurants, hotels, sweet shops have been closed till 31 March.[186]

On 20 March, Delhi Government announced that all malls in Delhi will close with only vegetable, grocery and medicine shops remaining open.[187][188] Shops in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur will remain closed till 31 March.[189][190] During this period, the essential services will continue. Medical services will be available.[191]

On 22 March, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has said that in view of coronavirus, the state has ordered lockdown till 31 March. All essential government services will continue and shops for essential goods such as food, medicines etc. will remain open.[192][193] Chief Minister of Rajasthan Ashok Gehlot said public vehicle will be banned till 31 March, along with all the malls and shops will remain closed.[194][195]

Education[edit source | edit]

On 16 March, the union government declared a countrywide lock-down of schools and colleges.[196] On 18 March, CBSE released revised guidelines for examination centres.[197][198] This includes maintaining a distance of at least 1 meter between the students taking the exam with a class not having more than 24 students. If the rooms of the examination centers are small, divide the students and make them sit in different rooms. On 19 March, CBSE and JEE main examinations were postponed till 31 March.[199][200]

On 20 March, Maharashtra government cancelled examinations for class 1 to 8 and promoted the students to the next classes, whereas examinations for class 9 and 11 were postponed till 15 April.[201] Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education postponed board exams for class 10 and 12 and asked school principals to promote or detain students of class 5 to 8 based on their performance in previous terms.[202] Board exams of class 10 and 12 were postponed in Kerala.[203] Assam government cancelled all exams till 31 March.[204] UPSC has also postponed the interview for the Civil Services Examination 2019 to be held from 23 March to 3 April.[205] The SSC exams in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were postponed to 15 April.[206]

Economy[edit source | edit]

On 2 March, the BSE SENSEX witnessed a flash crash on the back of Union Health Ministry's announcement of two new confirmed cases.[207] A UN report estimated a trade impact of US$348 million on India due to the outbreak, making India one of the 15 worst affected economies across the world.[208] Asian Development Bank estimated that the outbreak could cause losses of up to US$29.9 billion to India's economy.[209] On 9 March, The BSE SENSEX closed 1,942 points lower at 35,635 while the NSE Nifty 50 was down by 538 points to 10,451.[210]

On 12 March, Indian stock markets suffered their worst crash since June 2017 after WHO's declaration of the outbreak as a pandemic. The BSE SENSEX dropped 8.18 per cent or 2,919 points which was its lowest in 23 months while the NIFTY dropped 9 per cent or 950 points.[211]

Entertainment[edit source | edit]

Cinema halls were shut down by most state governments. Film bodies decided to stop the production of films, TV shows and web series till 31 March.[212] On 25 March, all video streaming services, jointly decided to offer only SD quality content on cellular networks. They also decided to lower the bitrates to 480p to lower the stress on telecom networks throughout the 21-day lockdown during which there would be an unprecedented surge in mobile internet consumption since people were confined to their homes.[213] The Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) said that four major broadcasting networks in the country have decided to waive all fees for four channels for two months. The IBF is an organization promoting the Indian television industry. In a statement, the foundation said that Sony Pal, run by Sony, Star Utsav, run by Star India, Viacom18's Colors Rishtey run by colors and Zee Anmol run by Zee TV will be available for two months free to all viewers in the country. This offer is for all DTH and cable networks.[214]

Events[edit source | edit]

On 6 March, the Border Security Force announced that the Wagah-Attari border ceremony would be conducted without any spectators as a precautionary measure, effective from 7 March.[215] The 21st IIFA Awards ceremony, which was scheduled to be held in Indore on 29 March, was postponed indefinitely.[216] The India Fashion Week, scheduled to begin on 11 March in New Delhi, was put off.[217] The Padma Awards ceremony that was scheduled to be held on 3 April was postponed.[218]

Historical buildings[edit source | edit]

On 17 March, All the historic buildings in the country will remain closed till 31 March. According to Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel the Taj Mahal, Red Fort and Qutub Minar and all the National Monuments and Museums under the Archaeological Department of India will remain closed till 31 March.[219] The Statue of Unity will be closed to visitors till 25 March.[220][221]

Religion[edit source | edit]

On 17 March, Mumbai's Siddhivinayak Temple was closed till further notice.[222] The next day, the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage in Jammu and Kashmir was called off.[223] Apart from this, the operation of all interstate buses coming to from Jammu and Kashmir has also been stopped. Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB), issued a consultation for foreigners not to visit the temple until 28 days after their arrival in India.[224] Entry restrictions are also in place for the aarti held at the Ganges Ghat in Varanasi; the organizers have been asked to complete the Ganga Aarti in a simple way.[225][226]

On 19 March, entry at Har Ki Pauri, Ganga Ghat, in Haridwar was closed till 31 March. However, the aarti at Har Ki Pauri Ghat continued and shown to devotees through live streaming.[227] Jagannath Temple, Puri was closed for visitors till 31 March.[228] On the same day, the Government of Andhra Pradesh closed visits to Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala until 31 March.[229] Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad will also be closed to visitors from 19 to 29 March.[230]

On 21 March, Rameswaram Ramanathan Swamy Temple in Tamil Nadu was closed till 31st. During this period, devotees were banned from entering the temple.[231][232] On 26 March, The Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad was closed to devotees.[233]

Many Christian churches have suspended in-person mass and have offered worship for their congregants through livestreaming, radio and television.[234] The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Ranchi has appealed to the Christian faithful to aid refugees from the Indian state of Jharkhand who have been stranded since the lockdown.[235] Hospitals belong to the Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic Christian religious order, are treating patients with coronavirus infections, observing the protocol required for infected individuals.[236]

Sports[edit source | edit]

The 2020 ISSF World Cup, which was to commence on 15 March in New Delhi, was postponed.[237] The Indian Open badminton tournament which was scheduled to be held in New Delhi from 24 to 29 March was suspended until 12 April.[238]

India's FIFA World Cup qualification match on 26 March against Qatar in Bhubaneswar was postponed.[239] The All India Football Federation suspended all matches of I-League and I-League 2nd Division from 15 March.[240] On 14 March, the 2020 Indian Super League Final was played behind closed doors.[241][242]

On 13 March, the Board of Control for Cricket in India announced that the opening of 2020 Indian Premier League was postponed from 29 March to 15 April.[243] Later that day, it cancelled the ODI matches between India and South Africa on 15 and 18 March, which were originally announced to be played without spectators.[244]

Transportation[edit source | edit]


IndiGo cancelled its Delhi-Istanbul and Chennai - Kuala Lumpur flights starting 18 March to prevent international travel from Turkey and Malaysia.[245] This ban will continue till 31 March.[246] On 17 March 2020, Go Air suspended its international flights till further notice.[247] On 19 March, the Government of India announced that no international flights will be allowed to land in India from 22 March.[248] On 23 March, the union government announced the suspension of all domestic flights in the country starting 25 March.[249]


On 14 March, Western and Central Railways removed curtains and blankets from AC coaches.[250] On 17 March, Western Railways hiked platform ticket charges from Rs. 10 to Rs. 50 across 250 stations.[251] Central Railways cancelled 23 trains.[252] On 19 March, Tejas Express running between Lucknow Junction to New Delhi and Varanasi to Indore will remain canceled till 31 March.[253] On 20 March, Delhi Metro was scheduled to remain closed on 22 March due to Janata Curfew.[254] On 22 March, metro services across India were suspended till 31 March.[255] On 21 March, in view of Janata curfew, Indian Railways announced the cancellation of 3,700 trains across the country.[256][257] On 22 March, the union government cancelled all train services in the country baring goods trains, that is around 12,500 trains, and all non-essential passenger transport including interstate transport buses.[258]


On 19 March, bus services between the cities of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have been postponed from 21 to 31 March 2020.[259][260] Punjab government imposed a ban on public transport including buses, auto rickshaws and tempos from 21 March.[261] Public transport including buses, mini buses, maxi cabs and auto services were banned in Srinagar.[262]

Help[edit source | edit]

International help[edit source | edit]

On 18 March, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan stated that the government had sent 15 tons of masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment by an Indian Air Force jet to China on 26 February. The medical supplies sent to China include one hundred thousand masks, five hundred thousand pairs of gloves, 75 infusion pumps, and 30 internal feeding pumps.[263]

Domestic help[edit source | edit]

Immediate relief[edit source | edit]

On 19 March, Kerala Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced a stimulus package of 20,000 crore (US$2.8 billion) to help the state overcome both the covid-19 epidemic and economic hardship caused by it.[264] On 21 March, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath announced 1,000 (US$14) to all daily wage labourers.[265] On 22 March, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh announced 3,000 (US$42) to all registered construction workers.[266]Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao announced that white ration card holders will be provided 1,500 (US$21) per family through ration shops.[267] On 26 March, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced an economic relief package of 1.7 lakh crore (US$24 billion), which would be a mix of food security and direct cash transfer, primarily for migrant laborers and daily wage labourers.[268] Prime Minister's National Relief Fund received several donations - 3,381 crore (US$470 million) from Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),[269][270] and a month's salary from Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and NCP's MPs.[271][272] NCP President Sharad Pawar announced that his party's MLAs would donate their one month's salary to Maharashtra CM's Reief Fund.[272] RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das permitted all banks to provide a moratorium on all loans for three months without having to worry about NPAs and keeping their books healthy. He also laid down various measures for injecting 3.74 lakh crore (US$52 billion) liquidity into the system.[273] Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi donated 51 crore (US$7.2 million) to Maharashtra CM's relief fund.[274] The Union Government released 4,431 crore (US$620 million) pay off the pending wages of daily wage laborers who come under MGNREGA scheme.[275][276] In Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal announced that if a doctor, nurse or hygiene worker dies during treatment, their family will be provided Rs 1 crore.[277] HDFC Bank denoted Rs 150 crore.[278]

PM CARES Fund[edit source | edit]

On 28 March, the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was set up to provide relief to the affected people.[279] Several large business groups contributed to the relief fund, including Tata Sons and Tata Trusts (1,500 crore),[280] Wipro and Azim Premji Foundation (1,125 crore),[281] Reliance Industries (500 crore)[282] and ONGC (300 crore).[283]

Gas cylinders[edit source | edit]

On 26 March, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced free gas cylinders for three months to beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.[284]

Rations[edit source | edit]

On 21 March, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal increased free ration from 5 kilograms to 7.5 kilograms for the 7.2 million people who are dependent on the ration scheme.[285] On 22 March, Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa announced two months of free ration for all the people.[286] Andhra Pradesh CM Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy announced free ration for the poor.[287] Telangana CM announced that white ration card holders will be provided with 12 kilograms of free rice per person (against a monthly supply of 6 kilograms per card person) through ration shops. On 23 March, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar announced one month of free ration for all ration card holders.

On 25 March, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that 80 crore (800 million) people would be given wheat at the rate of Rs 2 per kg, and rice at Rs 3 per kg. He also said that three months ration advance would be given.[288]

Masks and supplies[edit source | edit]

On 25 March, Vivo said that they would be donating 1 lakh surgical and 5,000 N95 masks to Maharashtra government.[289] On 26 March, former Indian cricketers, Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan, made a donation of 4,000 masks.[290]

On 28 March, Hyundai India announced placing an order for 25,000 COVID-19 Advanced Diagnostic Testing Kits from South Korea.[291]

Situation[edit source | edit]

Panic buying[edit source | edit]

Hyderabad witnessed panic buying throughout 20th evening and Saturday 21st.[292] Panic buying of milk and other dairy products was also reported.[293][294] Online grocery delivery service Grofers also witnessed panic buying across states.[295]

Retailers and consumer goods firms saw their average daily sales more than double on 19 March as consumers rushed to buy essentials ahead of PM Modi’s address to the nation.[296] In response to this, Modi assured the citizens that there was enough food and ration supplies and advised them against panic buying.[297]

Escaping of suspected people[edit source | edit]

Several cases are reported across the country, where people who are suspected to have come in contact with the virus, escaped from the quarantines and hospitals.[298][299]

Chhattisgarh: 35-yr-old man from Tagapani, Dhamtari, who was put under isolation home by the health dept after his return from Tamil Nadu, commits suicide.[300]

Gujarat: In Gujarat 93 people have broken self-isolation rules in 10 days. FIRs have been filed against 10.[301]

Kerala: Two expats in Kasaragod district who violated quarantine measures were subjected to punitive measures, including cancellation of their Indian passports.[302]

Punjab: On 20 March, A case of 26-year-old woman suspected of being infected with the corona virus has been reported to have fled the hospital in Punjab. The woman, who hails from Mohali, recently returned from the US and was brought to a government hospital in Chandigarh.[303]

Telangana: On 13 March, One woman returned from Singapore has been missing, while a man who came from Doha went somewhere without telling hospital staff.[304]

Misinformation and discrimination[edit source | edit]

Despite evidence to the contrary, a viral rumour spread online alleging that only people who eat meat were affected by coronavirus, causing "#NoMeat_NoCoronaVirus" to trend on Twitter.[305] To curb these rumours and combat declining sales, some poultry industry associations held a "Chicken and Egg Mela" in Hyderabad. Several Telangana state ministers were in attendance and ate some of the free eggs and fried chicken being distributed at the event to show their support for the industry.[306]

Muslim cleric Ilyas Sharafuddin has stated that Allah has punished the Chinese by unleashing Corona virus on them for their brutal crackdown on Uighur Muslims. His claim was largely criticised and was condemned for passing such communal and insensitive comments.[307]

Some politicians like Swami Chakrapani and Suman Haripriya claimed that drinking cow urine and applying cow dung on the body can cure coronavirus.[308][309] WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan rubbished such claims and criticized these politicians for spreading misinformation.[310][311]

Reports of harassment of people from Northeast India, which shares a border with Tibet and Myanmar, in Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad have been reported following the outbreak.[312][313][314] Students from Kirori Mal College in Delhi, Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai and other institutes in Kolkata have also faced harassment and filed complaints with authorities.[315][316][317]

Residents of a village named Korauna in Sitapur district in Uttar Pradesh faced discrimination due to similarity in name of the village with the virus.[318]

Statistics[edit source | edit]

The numbers are from data published by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on their website.Template:2019–20 coronavirus pandemic data/India medical cases

Confirmed deaths[edit source | edit]

Template:2019–20 coronavirus pandemic data/India medical cases summary

Confirmed Indian cases abroad[edit source | edit]

The Ministry of External Affairs has confirmed that there are 276 confirmed Indians cases abroad as of 18 March. Most of them were in Iran (255), with others in United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Rwanda and Hong Kong.[319] One Indian died in Iran on 20 March 2020.[320] A 3-year-old Indian girl tested positive in Singapore on 26 March, taking total to 277.[321]

Confirmed cases of Indian nationals abroad
Country/Region Active cases Death Total
 Hong Kong 1 0 1
 Iran 254 1[320] 255
 Italy 5 0 5
 Kuwait 1 0 1
 Rwanda 1 0 1
 United Arab Emirates 12 0 12
 Sri Lanka 1 0 1
 Singapore 1 0 1[321]
Total 276 1 277

States and territories without confirmed cases[edit source | edit]

No confirmed cases have been reported in the following states and union territories

See also[edit source | edit]

References[edit source | edit]

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