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COVID-19 pandemic in India

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COVID-19 pandemic in India
India COVID-19 confirmed cases map.svg
Map of the pandemic in India (as of 5 March 2021)
India COVID-19 deaths map.svg
Map of deaths due to the pandemic in India (as of 5 March 2021)
DiseaseCoronavirus disease 2019
Virus strainSevere acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
First caseThrissur, Kerala[2]
Date30 January 2020 – ongoing
(1 year, 1 month and 5 days)[3]
OriginWuhan, Hubei, China[4]
Confirmed cases[5][note 1]
Active casesFormatting error: invalid input when rounding[5]
Recovered[5][note 2]
[5][note 3]
27 states and 7 union territories[5]
Official website

The first case of the COVID-19 pandemic in India was reported on 30 January 2020, originating from China. As of 5 March 2021, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare have confirmed a total of 101,139 cases, 39,174 recoveries (including 1 migration) and 3,163 deaths in the country.[5]

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 instance of the prime minister Narendra Modi. The government followed it up with lockdowns in 75 districts where COVID-19 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][12] On 14 April, the prime minister extended the ongoing nationwide lockdown till 3 May.[13] On 1 May, lockdown across the country was further extended by two more weeks till 17 May.[14]

Michael Ryan, chief executive director of the World Health Organisation's health emergencies programme, 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.[15] Other commentators worried about the economic devastation caused by the lockdown, which has huge effects on informal workers, micro and small enterprises, farmers and the self-employed, who are left with no livelihood in the absence of transportation and access to markets.[16][17]

Observers state that the lockdown has slowed the growth rate of the pandemic by 6 April to a rate of doubling every 6 days,[18] and, by 18 April, to a rate of doubling every 8 days.[19]

The Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (OxCGRT), in its report based on data from 73 countries, reports that the Indian Government has responded more stringently than other countries in tackling the pandemic. It noted the government's swift action, emergency policy making emergency investment in healthcare, fiscal measures, investment in vaccine research and active response to the situation, and scored India with a "100" for its strictness[20][21]

Background[edit source | edit]

On 12 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that a novel coronavirus was the cause of a respiratory illness in a cluster of people in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, which was reported to the WHO on 31 December 2019.[22][23]

The case fatality ratio for COVID-19 has been much lower than SARS of 2003,[24][25] but the transmission has been significantly greater, with a significant total death toll.[26][24]

Timeline[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/India medical cases chart

Timeline of the pandemic spread across India (since 30 January 2020 and till 3 April 2020)

On 30 January, India reported its first case of COVID-19 in Kerala, which rose to three cases by 3 February; all were students who had returned from Wuhan, China.[27][28] No significant rise in cases was seen in the rest of February. On 4 March 22 new cases came to light, including those of an Italian tourist group with 14 infected members.[29]

The transmission escalated during 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.[30]

Confirmed cases crossed 100 on 15 March,[31] 1,000 on 28 March,[32] 5,000 on 7 April,[33] 10,000 on 14 April,[34] 20,000 on 22 April[35] and 30,000 on 29 April.[36] The death toll crossed 50 on 1 April,[37] 100 on 5 April,[38] 500 on 19 April[39] and 1,000 on 29 April.[40]

A Sikh preacher that returned from travel to Italy and Germany, carrying the virus, turned into "super spreader" by attending a Sikh festival in Anandpur Sahib during 10–12 March.[41][42] Twenty-seven COVID-19 cases were traced back to him.[43] Over 40,000 people in 20 villages in Punjab were quarantined on 27 March to contain the spread.[42][44]

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.[45] Over 9,000 missionaries may have attended the congregation, with the majority being from various states of India,[46][47] and 960 attendees from 40 foreign countries.[48] According to Ministry of Health and Family welfare, 4,291 out of 14,378 confirmed cases were linked to this event in 23 Indian states and union territories till 18 April.[49]

On 6 April 2020, in Mumbai's Wockhardt Hospital, 26 nurses and 3 doctors were found to have been infected with the virus. The hospital was temporarily shut down and declared a containment zone. Negligence of the hospital administration has been blamed for the infections.[50]

As of 27 April the states of Goa, Sikkim, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Tripura have been declared as "Covid-19 Free" with zero active cases by the Government of India.[51][52][53]

On 2 May 2020, in Punjab, Around 4000 stranded pilgrims returned from Hazur Sahib in Nanded, Maharashtra. Many of them tested positive.[54] 27 bus drivers and conductors who took stranded pilgrims back to the state also tested positive.[55] As of 13 May, 1,225 pilgrims have tested positive taking the state tally to 1,924.[56]

Government responses[edit source | edit]

January–February[edit source | edit]

Protective measures were first applied in January. India began thermal screening of passengers arriving from China on 21 January.[57] Initially carried out at seven airports, it was expanded to 20 airports towards the end of January.[58] During February, the screening was extended to passengers from Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea.[59] Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia were added to the list towards the end of February.[60] Very few new cases were discovered during February, but Shashi Tharoor pointed out that asymptomatic, infectious persons could still slip through the screening. He worried that no comprehensive nationwide surveillance system was in place, testing infrastructure was inadequate, and the public awareness was minimal.[61] In fact, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) scientists knew that airport screening alone was not enough.[62]

March[edit source | edit]

Awareness poster released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

By early to mid-March, the government had drawn up plans to deal with a worsening of the pandemic in the country. This included 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, were informed of the containment plan.[63] Plans to avoid a panic-like situation were also made. The Ministry of Textiles was to ensure the availability of protective and medical materials. The Department of Pharmaceuticals was to ensure the availability of essential medicines. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution was asked to ensure availability of essentials.[64]

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) 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.[65]

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.[66] A government directive was issued asking all Central Armed Police Forces to get into battle mode; all non-essential leave was cancelled.[67][68] A COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force was also formed.[69][70]

On 27 March, The Tamil Nadu government appointment hundreds of lab technicians, doctors and nurses to combat coronavirus. It also sought to introduce 200 new ambulances in the state.[71] The government of Assam started making isolation facilities in Sarusajai stadium and Nehru Stadium in Guwahati.[72][73]

Union and state governments set up national and state helpline numbers.[74]

April[edit source | edit]

Major Indian cities and many states made wearing facial masks compulsory.[75]

On 29 April, The Ministry of Home Affairs issued guidelines for the states to allow inter-state movement of the stranded persons. States have been asked to designate nodal authorities and form protocols to receive and send such persons. States have also been asked to screen the people, quarantine them and to do periodic health checkups.[76]

Travel and entry restrictions[edit source | edit]

On 3 March 2020, the Indian government stopped issuing of new visas. Previously issued visas for the nationals of Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Japan were suspended.[77]

All visas were suspended on 13 March, except for diplomatic and other official visas, as well as the visa-free travel for Overseas Citizens of India. Indians returning from COVID-affected countries were asked to be quarantined for 14 days.[8][78] These measures were expanded to citizens from Europe, Gulf countries and Asian countries including Malaysia on 17–18 March.[79][80]

The land border with Myanmar began to be restricted on 9 March with the initiative of the state governments of Mizoram and Manipur.[81][82] On 13 March, the Government of India closed passenger traffic from all neighbouring countries other than Pakistan.[83] The traffic from Pakistan itself was closed on 16 March.[84] Travel and registration for Sri Kartarpur Sahib was also suspended on this date.[85]

Sikkim restricted entry of domestic tourists in the state from 17 March and asked those who are already in the state to leave.[86] Himachal Pradesh banned entry of foreign and domestic tourists on 19 March until further notice.[87] Other states followed such as Uttarakhand, which has also banned tourists till further orders.[88] Punjab banned the use of public transport as of 21 March.[89]

Screening[edit source | edit]

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 stated that as of then, 589,000 people had been screened at airports, over one million screened at borders with Nepal and around 27,000 were under community surveillance.[90][91]

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.[92]
  • 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.[93]
  • On 9 March, collector and district magistrate of Pathanamthitta district of Kerala declared three days long holidays for all educational institutions in the district.[94] Karnataka declared indefinite holiday for all kindergarten and pre-primary schools in Bangalore.[95] The holiday was extended to all primary schools up to fifth grade after a confirmed case was reported in the city.[96]
  • On 10 March, Kerala announced closure of all schools and colleges across the state until 31 March, with effect from 11 March.[97]
  • 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.[98]
  • 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.[99] 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.[100] 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.[101]
  • On 13 March, the Punjab and Chhattisgarh governments declared holidays in all schools and colleges till 31 March.[102][103] Manipur government announced that all schools in the state, where examination are not being held would remain closed till 31 March.[104]
  • On 14 March, the Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur declared that all educational institutions and theatres would remain closed until 31 March as a precautionary measure in view of the threat of the coronavirus.[105] Also, in the West Bengal government announced that all educational institutions will be closed till 31 March, however the board examinations will be conducted.[106] 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.[107][108] Government of Rajasthan announced to close all educational institutions, gyms, and cinema halls till 30 March, however ongoing school and college exams will continue.[109]
  • On 15 March, 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.[110] Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation shut down Jijamata Udyaan till further orders.[111] The Gujarat government announced that all schools, colleges, cinema halls will be closed till 31 March, however the board examinations will be conducted.[112] Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) has postponed all the recruitment exams till 31 March.[113] 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.[114] The Tamil Nadu and Telangana governments declared closure of schools, malls and theatres till 31 March.[115][116] Ministry of Culture shut down all monuments and museums under Archaeological Survey of India till 31 March.[117]
  • On 17 March, schools, colleges and multiplexes in Uttar Pradesh were shut down till 2 April and on-going examinations were postponed.[118] BMC ordered private firms in Mumbai to function "only at 50% of their staff capacity or face action under section 188 of the IPC".[119] Rajasthan government banned the gathering of more than 50 people in public places till 31 March.[120] 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.[121] In Maharashtra, government offices were closed down for seven days.[122] 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.[123] At the same time, Dera chiefs were asked to postpone all religious events till 31 March.[124] The GoM has also directed that no more than 50 people are allowed to gather at any place other than weddings.[125] Pondicherry shut down schools, colleges, cinemas and gyms till 31 March.[126] Mumbai Police ordered the closure of pubs, bars and discotheques till 31 March.[127]
  • On 18 March, District magistrate and deputy commissioner of Srinagar district in Jammu and Kashmir said that the entry of all foreign tourists has been banned in the entire union territory.[128] 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.[129][130] Government of Andhra Pradesh announced closure of all educational institutions till 31 March.[131]
  • 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.[132]

Lockdown[edit source | edit]

Empty roads during the lockdown in Vadodara, Gujarat

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.[133] At 6 am on 23 March Delhi was put under lockdown till at least 31 March. Essential services and commodities were to continue.[134][135] 80 cities including major cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai,[136] Chandigarh[137] and Kolkata were also put under lockdown.[138] Inter-state movements are allowed during the lockdown period. However some states have closed their borders.[139]

On 23 March, union and state governments announced the lockdown of 75 districts where cases were reported.[140]

On 24 March, PM Narendra Modi announced a complete nationwide lockdown, starting from midnight for 21 days.[141] By 6 April, the growth rate of the pandemic had slowed to one of doubling every six days, from a rate of doubling every three days earlier.[18]

As the end of the lockdown period approached, several state governments recommended extending the lockdown.[142] The governments Odisha, Punjab, Maharashtra, and West Bengal governments have extended the state lockdowns to 30 April.[143][144][145]

On 14 April, PM Narendra Modi extended nationwide lockdown till 3 May, with a conditional relaxation from 20 April for the areas that have been able to contain the spread.[13]

On 29 April, Punjab government announced for extension of curfew till 17 May.[146]

On 1 May, the Government of India extended nationwide lockdown further by two weeks until 17 May.[14]

On 5 May, Telangana government announced for extension of lockdown till 29 May in their state.[147]

On 16 May, Punjab government announced for extension of lockdown till 31 May.[148]

On 17 May, NDMA extended the lockdown till 31 May in all indian states.[149]

Zonal classification[edit source | edit]

The Government Divided the entire nation into three zones – Green Zone, Red Zone, Orange Zone, relaxation will be allowed accordingly.[150][151][152]

  • Red zone (Hotspots) – districts with high doubling rate and high number of active cases
  • Orange zone (Non-hotspots) – districts with fewer cases
  • Green zone – districts without confirmed cases or without new cases in last 21 days

Communication and Economic stimulus[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.[153]

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.[154] On 24 March, Modi announced a nationwide lockdown from midnight of that day, for a period of 21 days.[155] He also announced a 150 billion (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.[156] On 3 April, PM Modi addressed the nation to turn off the lights for nine minutes and lighting the candles on 5 April.[157]

In an address on 14 April PM Modi asked the citizens to follow seven steps to help in the fight against coronavirus, "Use homemade masks, Take care of elderly people, Protect jobs, Help the poor and needy , follow the guidelines set by Ministry of AYUSH to improve immunity and Download the Aarogya Setu app to track your health." [158]

In a live telecast on 12 May PM Modi announced an economic pakage of 20 trillion (US$280 billion) for 'Atma Nirbhar Bharat' (self reliant India).[159] The economic package is nearly 10% of the GDP. He added that Special economic package is for our labourers, farmers, honest tax payers, MSMEs and cottage industry [160] PM Modi added that the five main pillars India stands on are — economy, infrastructure, governing systems, vibrant democracy and supply chain.[161]

Legal announcements[edit source | edit]

On 11 March 2020, the Cabinet Secretary of India, Rajiv Gauba, announced that all states and UTs should invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.[162][163]

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 to fight the virus.[164][165]

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,the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy have been successful in evacuating many Indian nationals and certain foreign nationals from the virus effected areas.[166][167][168]

  • On 1 February, India evacuated 324 people from Wuhan region in its first Air India flight evacuation.[169][170]
  • On 2 February, India evacuated a second Air India flight carrying 323 Indians and seven Maldivians from Wuhan.[171][172]
  • On 7 February, Brazil evacuated 34 Brazilians, four Poles, a Chinese and an Indian national from Wuhan by Air Force planes.[173]
  • On 27 February, Indian Air Force evacuated 112 people from Wuhan, which included 76 Indian nationals and 36 foreign nationals. India also provided 15 tonnes of medical assistance to China through the same IAF flight.[174][175] On the same day, 124 people – 119 Indians and five foreign nationals were evacuated from Japan by an Air India flight.[176]
  • On 10 March, Indian Air Force's C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft evacuated 58 Indian pilgrims, and another 44 passengers on 11 March from Iran.[177][178][176]
  • On 11 March, 83 people were evacuated from Italy by Air India.[179]
  • On 15 March, 218 Indians from Italy were evacuated by a special Air India flight.[180] Later, 234 Indians were evacuated from Iran,[181][182] and another 53 on 16 March.[183]
  • On 22 March, 263 Indians were evacuated by Air India from Rome.[184]
  • On 29 March, 275 Indians were evacuated from Iran.[185]

The Government of India began a mega evacuation of distressed Indian citizens from across the globe called "Vande Bharat Mission" in early May. It deployed several commercial jets, military transport planes and naval warships in what is set to be one of the biggest-ever peacetime repatriation exercise in history. In the first phase, around 14,800 citizens stranded in 13 countries would be brought back by 64 flights. [186] [187][188]

  • On 8 May, Air India evacuated 181 people from Abu Dhabi,[189] 177 people from Dubai,[190] 234 people from Singapore,[191] and 167 students from Dhaka.
  • On 9 May, Air India evacuated 129 people from Dhaka, 180 Indians from Sharjah, 163 people from Kuwait, 177 people from Kuala Lampur 243 Indians from Singapore and 180 Indians from Dubai.[191]
  • On 10 May, INS Jalashwa, with 700 Indian nationals from the Maldives arrived at the Kochi Port. This was an operation of the Indian Navy called Operation Samudra Setu.
  • On 10 May, 326 Indian nationals from London, landed at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport in Mumbai. 177 passengers from Kuala Lumpur landed at Kochi. 117 Indians from Kuwait landed at Chennai.[191]
  • On 11 May, 323 Indians from London landed at Bangalore. 118 Indians stranded in the San Francisco landed at Hyderabad. Air India flight 1387 carrying Indians from Manila arrived in Mumbai.[192][193]
Schedule of Vande Bharat Mission-phase 1

Ministry of Civil Aviation in coordination with the Ministry of External Affairs planned phase two of the Vande Bharat Mission to bring Indian citizens from nearly 31 countries around the world for which 149 flights will be deployed. [194]

Schedule of the Vande Bharat Misson - Phase 2

Legal actions[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.[195] 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.[196] 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.[197] Lucknow police lodged an FIR against Bollywood singer, Kanika Kapoor for alleged negligence in compliance of necessary directives post her return from London.[198] 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.[199] 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.[200] A case was registered against a Coca-Cola plant in Himachal Pradesh for operating in violation of lockdown order.[201] 255 people in West Bengal were arrested for violating restriction order and were prosecuted under IPC section 188.[202] A man was arrested for hosting a party during the lockdown in Andhra Pradesh's West Godavari district.[203] Hyderabad traffic police seized 2,480 vehicles for violating the lockdown.[204] 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.[205] 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.[206] 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.[207] Three people were arrested for circulating a fake audio clip which suggested that 59 fresh cases were reported in Nagpur, Maharashtra.[208] A 29-year-old woman was arrested in Kolkata for allegedly spreading rumours related to the outbreak by posting fake news on social media.[209] Patna police arrested three policemen for allegedly shooting at a driver of a vehicle carrying potatoes and asking for a bribe of 5,000 (US$70).[210]

State government response[edit source | edit]

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

International relations[edit source | edit]

On 26 February, India sent 15 tons of masks, gloves and other emergency medical equipment by an Indian Air Force jet to China. 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.[211]

On 13 March, PM Narendra 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.[212] On 15 March, after a video conference of SAARC leaders,[153] he allocated 74 crore (US$10 million) of funds classified as COVID-19 Emergency Fund for the SAARC countries.[153]

On 4 April, the Government of India banned the export of hydroxychloroquine "without any exception", in order to stockpile supplies for domestic use.[213] The United States, which imports half its supply of the drug from India and expects to use it for treating COVID-19 patients, grew concerned. The US President Donald Trump called Prime Minister Modi the next day, and hinted at possible retaliation in a press conference. India agreed to allow its export on "humanitarian grounds".[214] Apart from the US, India had outstanding orders for Hydroxychloroquine from some 30 countries, including Brazil, Spain, France, UK, Germany, Australia, the Gulf countries and the SAARC neighbours. The decision to partially lift the ban preceded President Trump's comment on possible retaliation.[215]

On 11 April, India sent a team of 15 doctors and health care professionals to Kuwait to assist in its fight against coronavirus, following a telephone conversion between prime minister Modi and the Kuwaiti prime minister Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah. Kuwait was facing 1,154 COVID-19 cases at this time.[216][217]

On 16 April, India is sending 85 million hydroxychloroquine tablets and 500 million paracetamol tablets to 108 countries.In addition, 1 thousand tons of mixture have also been sent to make paracetamol tablets.[218]

On 10 May the Indian government sent Naval ship INS Kesari carrying medical teams, essential medicines and food items to the Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles following separate requests for help in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.[219] [220]

Aarogya Setu[edit source | edit]

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology launched a smart phone application called Aarogya Setu to help in "contact tracing and containing the spread" of COVID-19 pandemic in the nation. The World Bank lauded the early deployment of such technology to combat the pandemic. Global technology giants Apple and Google announced on 11 April, that they will taken up the building of software for smartphones which would help in contact tracing, just as the Aarogya Setu application does.[221][222]

On 6 May, a French cybersecurity expert going under the alias 'Elliot Alderson' tweeted that security vulnerabilities in Aarogya Setu allowed hackers to "know who is infected, unwell, [or] made a self assessment in the area of his choice". He also gave details of how many people were unwell and infected at the Prime Minister's Office, the Indian Parliament and the Home Office. This followed IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad's statement that the app is "absolutely robust, safe and secure".[223] The Economic Times pointed out that a clause in the app's Terms and Conditions stated that the user "agrees and acknowledges that the Government of India will not be liable for … any unauthorised access to your information or modification thereof".[224] In response, several software developers called for the source code to be made public.[225]

Economic package[edit source | edit]

On 12 May, the Prime Minister, in an address to the nation, said that the coronavirus crisis should be seen as an opportunity, laying emphasis on domestic products and "economic self-reliance", a Atmanirbhar Bharat (transl. Self-reliant India) through a Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (transl. Self-reliant India Mission).[226] The following day the Finance Minister started laying out the details of the Prime Minister's vision which would continue into the next few days.[227]

Testing and countermeasures[edit source | edit]

Testing[edit source | edit]

Summary of test results
Samples tested
Tested positive[5]
Tests per 1 million people Formatting error: invalid input when rounding
Percentage Tested Positive 0%
As of 18 May 2020[228]
A testing facility at the National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi
A sample collection kiosk for COVID-19 testing in Kerala

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.[229] They are part of policy decisions to decide how coronavirus should be tackled in the country.[229] A cluster-containment strategy is mainly being adopted, similar to how India contained previous epidemics, as well as "breaking the chain of transmission".[229][230][231] 15 labs across India led by the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, are testing for the virus, with more labs being trained.[232] On 14 March 65 labs were named capable for testing for the virus (though as of 17 March not all are fully functional).[233][234][235]

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.[236] 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.[237] NIV has shared two SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences with GISAID.[238] On 16 April, China sent 650,000 Corona virus medical kits to India to help fight with global epidemic[239] though their use was discontinued in view of a very low accuracy of just 5.4%.[240] In May, National Institute of Virology introduced another antibody test kit ELISA for rapid testing, capable of processing 90 samples in a single run of 2.5 hours.[241]

Initial testing[edit source | edit]

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.[242][243] 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.[244] The first and second confirmatory tests for the virus has been made free by the government.[245] On 9 April, ICMR further revised the testing strategy and allowed testing of the people showing symptoms for a week in the hotspot areas of the country, regardless of travel history or local contact to a patient.[246]

The Ministry of Health said that only 10 per cent of test capacity had been utilised per day till 15 March,[245] claiming that the number of tests was enough. However experts thought they were not, saying that community transmission may go undetected without adequate testing.[234] They also wanted to add more testing centres by inclusion of private laboratories.[234][243] In mid-March the government authorised accredited private labs to test for the virus.[247]

Expansion of tests[edit source | edit]

On 17 March, the Union Ministry of Health had decided to allow private pathology labs to test for COVID-19. The ministry official claimed that by allowing private labs, the work of testing can be doubled. The ministry said that NABL accredited laboratories may soon be allowed.[248] 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.[249] The ICMR has appealed to the private labs to offer the tests for free as the government labs do.[248]

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.[250] 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.[251] The government has also issued guidelines to cap the cost of sample testing by private labs at ₹4,500.[252]

On 19 March, 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.[253]

111 additional labs for testing became functional on 21 March.[254] 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.[255][256]

In April, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology of Delhi had developed low cost paper-strip test that could detect COVID-19 within an hour. Each test would cost 500 (US$7.00) and method could fulfill India's rapid need of testing.[257]

On 13 April, ICMR advised pool testing in the low infection areas with a positivity rate less than 2% to increase the capacity of the testing and save resources. In this process maximum five samples are tested at once and samples are tested individually only if a pool tests positive.[258] Andaman and Nicobar Islands[259] and Uttar Pradesh[260] have started doing pool testing.

On 14 April, ICMR and DGCI approved 18 new suppliers of test kits that included three Indian firms, bringing the total suppliers to 51.[261]

On 16 April, 650,000 rapid antibody test and RNA extraction kits were dispatched from China, and over 2 million kits were to be sent in next 15 days.[240] On 21 April, Health department of West Bengal alleged that large number of testing kits supplied by ICMR-NICED (National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases) were giving inconclusive results. ICMR-NICED admitted that there was problem in the kits and said that they are addressing the issue.[262] While Rajasthan stopped using rapid testing kits as they were giving low accuracy of 5.4% in compared to expected 90% accuracy.[263] Later, ICMR advised all states to stop using rapid testing kits for next two days until their on-ground teams validates these kits.[264] Rapid antibody test kits were put on hold till further notice. The Chinese manufactures of the rapid testing kits said that the testing kits were approved by ICMR and the problem is not with the kits but with the way they were being used. However, Chinese manufacturers promised to cooperate with Indian authorities to resolve the issue.[265][266] Amid this, ICMR asked states to return the faulty kits which will be sent back to the suppliers and cancelled the order of all remaining kits.[267][268]

Testing community transmission[edit source | edit]

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.[269][270] As of 18 March, no evidence of community transmission was found after results of 500 random samples tested negative.[271] Between 15 February and 2 April, 5,911 SARI (Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses) patients were tested throughout the country of which, 104 tested positive (1.8%) in 20 states and union territories. About 40% of the identified patients did not have travel history or any history of contact with a positive patient.[272] The ICMR advised to prioritise containment in the 36 districts of 15 states which had reported positive cases among SARI patients.[273]

Test statistics[edit source | edit]

According to ICMR, 2,404,267 samples have been tested as of 19 May and 101,139[5] individuals have been confirmed positive.[228] Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/India testing data

Research and treatment[edit source | edit]

A poster showing the COVID-19 combat mission of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research
Sai Krishna Hospital as COVID-19 Isolation Centre; operated by Government of Gujarat in Mehsana, Gujarat, India

In Rajasthan, a combination of anti-malaria, anti-swine flu and anti-HIV drugs resulted in the recovery of three patients in March.[274] In the same month, the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Cipla launched a joint venture to develop anti-COVID-19 drugs.[275] Another Indian firm, Stempeutics, announced plans to introduce a stem cell-based agent for treating COVID-19 patients in critical situation.[276]

In March, a startup incubated in Pune's SciTech Park introduced 'Airon', a negative ion generator capable of reducing a room's viral load by 99.7%.[277] In April, funds for a number of preventive agents were released to initiate research.[278][279]

On 23 March, the National Task Force for COVID-19 constituted by the ICMR recommended the use of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of high-risk cases.[280]

According to estimates, India has around 40,000 ventilators, of which 8,432 are with the public sector.[281] Various Indian PSUs, firms and startups, including DRDO and ISRO, have since repurposed their production lines to manufacture general PPEs, full body suits and ventilators. They are also designing low-cost or mobile medical equipment.[282][283][284][285] The focus was to increase the production of low-cost, compact and portable ventilators that could cater to multiple patients at a time. This led to the creation of some of the world's smallest and cheapest ventilators.[286] The government aims to double the current capacity of ventilators by June 2020 with the assistance from PSUs. The government has also requested major private automakers to explore the possibility of manufacturing ventilators at their plants.[287] Maruti Suzuki, in collaboration with AgVa Healthcare, will supply 10,000 ventilators till end of the May.[288] From nil in near past, India was producing around 200,000 PPE kits and 250,000 N95 masks per day in May 2020.[289]

The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology has been working on genome sequencing of COVID-19.[290] In May, CCMB also started a partnership with a private company Eyestem Research to grow novel coronavirus strain in human lung epithelial cells for research and trials of anti-viral drugs.[291]

Pune-based Serum Institute of India announced that it would apply for clinical trials of certain strains from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) in April. As per company president Adar Poonawalla, a vaccine for COVID-19 will be delivered within a year. However, it may not be effective on 20 to 30% people.[292] Two other companies are also trying to develop a vaccine: Zydus Cadila, which is replicating viral vector and developing a DNA plasmid vaccine,[293] and Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, in collaboration with US based FluGen, which is expecting the first clinical trials of a nasal vaccine by late 2020.[294] As of late February, the Serum Institute of India had begun animal trials of vaccine candidates,[295] followed by Zydus Cadila in March.[296] ICMR partnered with Bharat Biotech in May to develop COVID vaccine completely in India.[297] Till May, there were over 30 candidates of COVID-19 vaccine in development in India, many of which were already in pre-clinical tests.[298]

On 12 April, the ICMR invited health institutions and hospitals to participate in trials of convalescent plasma therapy and plasma exchange therapy. Later, the ICMR submitted a list of such institutes to the DCGI to start trials,[299] which the DCGI approved.[300] Several states were allowed by ICMR to start clinical trials of the plasma therapy.[301][302] In Delhi, a 49-year-old man who was on ventilator support became the first patient in the country, who recovered through plasma therapy in April.[303] Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal said that the initial results of the plasma therapy treatment on four patients gave positive and encouraging results, adding that they had decided to conduct it on three more patients.[304] However, the ICMR later stated that there is no robust evidence to support convalescent plasma therapy as a routine therapy, describing it is as an emerging and experimental therapy. It has some risks, which include life-threatening allergies and lung injuries. The ICMR have since started multi-centre clinical trials to ensure the treatment's safety and efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients across the country.[305]

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.[306] On 20 March, in Lucknow all restaurants, hotels, sweet shops have been closed till 31 March.[307]

On 20 March, Delhi government announced that all malls in Delhi will close with only vegetable, grocery and medicine shops remaining open.[308][309] Shops in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur will remain closed till 31 March.[310][311] During this period, the essential services will continue. Medical services will be available.[312]

On 22 March, Punjab chief minister 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.[313][314] The 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.[315][316]

Education[edit source | edit]

On 16 March, the union government declared a countrywide lock-down of schools and colleges.[317] On 18 March, CBSE released revised guidelines for examination centres.[318][319] 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 centres 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.[320][321]

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.[322] 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.[323] Board exams of class 10 and 12 were postponed in Kerala.[324] Assam government cancelled all exams till 31 March.[325] The Union Public Service Commission also postponed the interview for the Civil Services Examination 2019 to be held from 23 March to 3 April.[326] The SSC exams in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were postponed to 15 April.[327]

Economy[edit source | edit]

A newspaper vendor in Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu wearing goggles, safety mask and hand gloves.

On 2 March, the BSE SENSEX witnessed a flash crash on the back of Union Health Ministry's announcement of two new confirmed cases.[328] 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.[329] Asian Development Bank estimated that the outbreak could cause losses of up to US$29.9 billion to India's economy.[330] 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.[331]

Indices: S&P Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) 500 (1 January 2015 to 9 May 2020)

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.[332]

The Indian Space Research Organisation's GISAT-1 mission onboard GSLV which was scheduled for its launch in April was postponed due to the lockdown.[333]

On 1 April, the coal mining operations of Singareni Collieries Company in Telangana were halted due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.[334]

Entertainment[edit source | edit]

The International Indian Film Academy Awards, planned to take place on 27 March, was canceled.[335] 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.[336] On 25 March, all video streaming services, jointly decided to offer only SD quality content on cellular networks. They also decided to lower the resolution 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.[337] 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 organisation 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.[338]

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.[339] The Padma Awards ceremony that was scheduled to be held on 3 April was postponed.[340]

Historical buildings[edit source | edit]

On 17 March, it was announced that all the historic buildings in the country would 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.[341] The Statue of Unity will be closed to visitors till 25 March.[342][343]

Religion[edit source | edit]

Temple Ram Mandir in the heart of Bhubaneswar.

On 17 March, Mumbai's Siddhivinayak Temple was closed till further notice.[344] The next day, the Mata Vaishno Devi pilgrimage in Jammu and Kashmir was called off.[345] 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.[346] Entry restrictions are also in place for the aarti held at the Ganges Ghat in Varanasi; the organisers have been asked to complete the Ganga Aarti in a simple way.[347][348]

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.[349] Jagannath Temple, Puri was closed for visitors till 31 March.[350] On the same day, the Government of Andhra Pradesh closed visits to Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala until 31 March.[351] Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad will also be closed to visitors from 19 to 29 March.[352]

On 21 March, Rameswaram Ramanathan Swamy Temple in Tamil Nadu was closed till 31st. During this period, devotees were banned from entering the temple.[353][354] On 26 March, The Mecca Masjid of Hyderabad was closed to devotees.[355]

Many Christian churches have suspended in-person mass and have offered worship for their congregants through livestreaming, radio and television.[356] 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.[357] State government of Jammu & Kashmir cancels Amarnath Yatra.

Sports[edit source | edit]

The 2020 ISSF World Cup, which was to commence on 15 March in New Delhi, was postponed.[358] The Indian Open badminton tournament which was scheduled to be held in New Delhi from 24 to 29 March was suspended until 12 April.[359]

India's FIFA World Cup qualification match on 26 March against Qatar in Bhubaneswar was postponed.[360] The All India Football Federation suspended all matches of I-League and I-League 2nd Division from 15 March.[361] On 14 March, the 2020 Indian Super League Final was played behind closed doors.[362][363]

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. On 16 April, BCCI suspended the tournament indefinitely due to the pandemic.[364][365]

On 13 March, BCCI cancelled the ODI matches between India and South Africa on 15 and 18 March, which were originally announced to be played without spectators.[366]

TCS World 10 Bengaluru, the IAAF Gold Label Road Race scheduled to be held on 17 May was postponed to 13 September.[367]

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.[368] This ban will continue till 31 March.[369] On 17 March 2020, Go Air suspended its international flights till further notice.[370] On 19 March, the Government of India announced that no international flights will be allowed to land in India from 22 March.[371] On 23 March, the union government announced the suspension of all domestic flights in the country starting 25 March.[372]


On 14 March, Western and Central Railways removed curtains and blankets from AC coaches.[373] On 17 March, Western Railways hiked platform ticket charges from Rs. 10 to Rs. 50 across 250 stations.[374] Central Railways cancelled 23 trains.[375] On 19 March, Tejas Express running between Lucknow Junction to New Delhi and Varanasi to Indore will remain canceled till 31 March.[376] On 20 March, Delhi Metro was scheduled to remain closed on 22 March due to Janata Curfew.[377] On 22 March, metro services across India were suspended till 31 March.[378] On 21 March, in view of Janata curfew, Indian Railways announced the cancellation of 3,700 trains across the country.[379][380] 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.[381] IRCTC suspended the bookings for 3 private trains till 30 April.[382] After the Prime Minister Modi extended the nationwide lockdown till 3 May. the Indian Railways not only extended the suspension of all its passenger trains during the period but also suspended all ticket bookings till further notice.[383]

On 8 May, the Aurangabad railway accident occurred due to confusion related to the pandemic.


On 19 March, bus services between the cities of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have been postponed from 21 to 31 March 2020.[384][385] Punjab government imposed a ban on public transport including buses, auto rickshaws and tempos from 21 March.[386] Public transport including buses, mini buses, maxi cabs and auto services were banned in Srinagar.[387]

Exodus of migrant workers[edit source | edit]

With factories and workplaces shut down, many migrant workers were left with no livelihood.[388] They thus decided to walk hundreds of kilometres to go back to their native villages, accompanied by their families in many cases.[389][390] The central government then announced that it had asked state governments to set up immediate relief camps for the migrant workers returning to their native states,[391] and later issued orders directing that the landlords should not demand rent during the period of the lockdown and that employers should pay wages without deduction.[392][393] The Supreme Court of India agreed to hear a petition on behalf of the migrant workers on 30 March.[394] In its report, the central government stated that the migrant workers, apprehensive about their survival, moved in the panic created by fake news that the lockdown would last for more than three months. The court added that it was satisfied by the government response thus far.[395][396] In early May, the central government finally permitted the Indian Railways to launch "Shramik Special" trains for the migrant workers and others stranded,[397] but this move had a few complications.[398][399][400][401]

Migrant workers stand in a queue for food at Delhi Govt school during COVID-19 Lockdown at Delhi

Unemployment[edit source | edit]

The coronavirus lockdown in India has left tens of millions of migrant workers unemployed.[402][403]

Food security[edit source | edit]

The lockdown has disrupted food supplies and threatens to trigger a food crisis.[404][405]

Relief[edit source | edit]

Immediate relief[edit source | edit]

On 19 March, Kerala chief minister (CM) 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.[406] On 21 March, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath announced 1,000 (US$14) to all daily wage labourers.[407] On 22 March, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh announced 3,000 (US$42) to all registered construction workers.[408] Telangana CM K. Chandrashekar Rao announced that white ration card holders will be provided 1,500 (US$21) per family through ration shops.[409] 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 labourers and daily wage labourers.[410] Prime Minister's National Relief Fund received several donations - 3,381 crore (US$470 million) from the Central Reserve Police Force,[411][412] and a month's salary from Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and NCP's MPs.[413][414] NCP President Sharad Pawar announced that his party's MLAs would donate their one month's salary to Maharashtra CM's Reief Fund.[414] 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.[415] Saibaba Sansthan Trust, Shirdi donated 51 crore (US$7.2 million) to Maharashtra CM's relief fund.[416] The Union Government released 4,431 crore (US$620 million) pay off the pending wages of daily wage labourers who come under MGNREGA scheme.[417][418] In Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal announced that if a doctor, nurse or hygiene worker dies during treatment, their family will be provided 10 million (US$140,000).[419] Karnataka chief minister B. S. Yeddyurappa announced 16.1 billion (US$230 million) relief for unorganised sectors including flower growers, washermen and women, barbers, construction workers, auto and cab drivers, MSMEs, and weavers.[420]

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.[421] Several large business groups[422][423][424][425] and PSUs contributed to the relief fund.[426][427] A sum of 3,100 crore was announced as the first allocation from the fund on 13 May.[428][429]

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.[430]

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.[431] On 22 March, Karnataka CM BS Yediyurappa announced two months of free ration for all the people.[432] Andhra Pradesh CM Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy announced free ration for the poor.[433] 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.[citation needed]

On 25 March, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar announced that 80 crore 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.[434]

On 21 April, Arvind Kejriwal announced that 1 crore people would be given free rations in Delhi.[435]

Masks and supplies[edit source | edit]

On 25 March, Vivo said that they would be donating 100,000 surgical and 5,000 N95 masks to Maharashtra government.[436] On 26 March, former Indian cricketers, Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan, made a donation of 4,000 masks.[437]

On 28 March, Hyundai India announced placing an order for 25,000 COVID-19 Advanced Diagnostic Testing Kits from South Korea.[438]

As of 3 April 2020, Indian Railways had produced total of 2 lakh (200,000) masks and 25,000 sanitisers.[439]

Premier universities in India such as National Institute of Technology Tiruchirappalli,[440] National Institute of Technology Karnataka,[441] National Institute of Technology Warangal,[442] Indian Institute of Technology Delhi,[443] Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur[444] and Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad[445] had prepared hand sanitisers and in their laboratories and started distributing to people.

The Ministry of Textiles stated that India was producing no Personal Protective Equipment kits before the pandemic. By May 2020, it began producing an average of 150,000 PPE kits per day.[446]

Situation[edit source | edit]

Tablighi Jamaat event[edit source | edit]

The Nizamuddin faction of the Tablighi Jamaat held a religious congregational program (Ijtema) in Nizamuddin West, Delhi in March.[447][448][449] The Delhi Government's order against organising seminars, conferences or any big event (beyond 200 people) was apparently ignored by the organisation, and the Delhi Police also failed to enforce it.[450][451] The gathering emerged as one of India's major coronavirus hotspots.[452] The entire Nizamuddin West area was cordoned off by the police as of 30 March, and medical camps were set up.[453] On 18 April, the Central Government stated that 4,291 cases (or 29.8% of the total 14,378 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in India) were linked to the Tablighi Jamaat, and these cases were spread across 23 states and Union Territories.[454] As of 4 April, about 22,000 people who came in contact with the Tablighi Jamaat missionaries had to be quarantined.[455]

Panic buying[edit source | edit]

Hyderabad witnessed panic buying throughout 20 and 21 March.[456] Panic buying of milk and other dairy products was also reported.[457][458] Online grocery delivery service Grofers also witnessed panic buying across states.[459]

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 Narendra Modi's address to the nation.[460] In response to this, Modi assured the citizens that there was enough food and ration supplies and advised them against panic buying.[461]

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.[462][463]

In Chhattisgarh, a 35 yr-old man from Tagapani, Dhamtari, who was put under isolation home by the health dept after his return from Tamil Nadu, committed suicide.[464]

In Gujarat, 93 people have broken self-isolation rules in 10 days. FIRs have been filed against 10.[465]

Two expats in Kasaragod district, Kerala, who violated quarantine measures were subjected to punitive measures, including cancellation of their Indian passports.[466]

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.[467]

On 13 March in Telangana, one woman returned from Singapore has been missing, while a man who came from Doha went somewhere without telling hospital staff.[468]

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.[469] 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.[470]

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.[471] The Chinese consulate in Kolkata also condemned similar statements reportedly made by Dilip Ghosh, president of the West Bengal unit of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.[472]

Some politicians like Swami Chakrapani and Suman Haripriya claimed that drinking cow urine and applying cow dung on the body can cure coronavirus.[473][474] WHO's chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan rubbished such claims and criticised these politicians for spreading misinformation.[475][476]

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.[477][478][479] 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.[480][481][482]

Misinformation that the government is spreading "anti-corona" drug in the country during Janata curfew went viral on social media.[483] Film actor Mohanlal and many others shared the fake news that, the vibration generated by clapping together during Janata curfew will kill the virus.[484] One viral message says that the lifetime of coronavirus is only 12 hours and staying home for 14 hours during Janata curfew break the chain of transmission.[485] Another message claimed that observing Janata curfew will result in the reduction of coronavirus cases by 40%.[485] Tweet by Rajinikanth claiming that a 14-hour stay home can stop the coronavirus disease going from "stage 2" to "stage 3" was classified as misinformation and was taken down by Twitter for violating community guidelines.[486] Amitabh Bachchan was heavily criticised for one of his tweets, which claimed vibrations from clapping, blowing conch shells as part of Sunday's Janata Curfew would have reduced or destroyed coronavirus potency as it was ‘amavasya’, the darkest day of the month.[487]

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.[488]

Some doctors and medical workers were evicted from their homes over fears they may be carrying coronavirus. In cases reported across the country, healthcare professionals described the growing stigma they are facing from their neighbours and landlords, resulting in many being refused taxis, barricaded from their own homes, or made homeless.[489][490]

In March 2020, foreigners from countries such as UK, US and Israel were facing hostility, including evictions from rented homes.[491]

Some patients, in different quarantine facilities of Uttar Pradesh, refused to eat food because the cooks in these facilities were Dalits.[492][493]

The Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi and the resulting hotspot triggered Islamophobic reactions and increased communal tension.[494][495][496] Islamophobic hashtags began circulating shortly after the news broke in late March.[497]

Rajasthan Congress MLA Bharat Singh Kundanpur in a letter to Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot claimed that "when coronavirus can be removed by washing hands with alcohol, then drinking alcohol will surely remove virus from the throat." His claim was rubbished by several health experts and doctors.[498]

Three Sikh men in Chembur, Mumbai were brutally attacked by a stranger for asking him to wear a mask while in public places as ordered by the government. One man was later admitted to a nearby hospital. This incident gave rise to Sikh-Muslim communal tension in the area. The accused was arrested by Mumbai Police.[499][500]

Statistics[edit source | edit]

The numbers are from data published by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on their website.

Confirmed cases, deaths, and recoveries by state and union territory[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/India medical cases

New cases by state and union territory[edit source | edit]

Template:COVID-19 pandemic data/India medical cases summary

Confirmed Indian cases abroad[edit source | edit]

The Ministry of External Affairs have confirmed that there are 3336 confirmed Indians cases abroad and 25 have died as of 16 April across 53 countries.[501][502]

Confirmed cases of Indian nationals abroad
Country/Region Active cases Death Total
 Kuwait[501] 785 1[503] 786
 Singapore[501] 634 1[504] 635
 Qatar[501] 420 Unknown 420
 Iran[501] 308 1[505] 309
 Oman[501] 297 Unknown 297
 United Arab Emirates[501] 238 Unknown 238
 Saudi Arabia[501] 176 10[502] 186
 Bahrain[501] 135 Unknown 135
 Italy[501] 91 Unknown 91
 Malaysia[501] 37 Unknown 37
 Portugal[501] 36 Unknown 36
 United States of America[501] 13 11 24
 Ghana[501] 24 Unknown 24
  Switzerland[501] 15 Unknown 15
 France[501] 13 Unknown 13
 Sri Lanka[506] 1 Unknown 1
 Rwanda[506] 1 Unknown 1
 Hong Kong[506] 1 Unknown 1
Total* 3336 25 3361
*Total of all 53 countries where Confirmed Indian cases reported till 16 April 2020

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

No confirmed cases have been reported in the following states and union territories:[507]

Without any active cases:

See also[edit source | edit]

Notes[edit source | edit]

  1. 111 confirmed cases of foreign nationals who have been tested positive in India are also included here
  2. 1 migrated case to another country is also included here
  3. 2 foreign nationals who died in India due to COVID-19 are also included here[6][7]

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Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9".

Lua error: Internal error: The interpreter has terminated with signal "9". Template:COVID-19 pandemic in India