Total number of confirmed coronavirus cases rise to 390: ICMR

A view shows empty roads during a 14-hour long curfew to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease in the country in Ahmedabad

Now, Modi and the central government are rolling out even more drastic rules - including the complete closure of commercial and private establishments, with few exceptions for services deemed essential.

In a bid to stem the tide of the coronavirus, India has declared the world's largest stay-at-home order yet in the fight against the global pandemic. And then at exactly 5 o'clock in the evening, how did people from across the country come forward to greet for 5 minutes.

At the time of writing, there have been 439,654 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide with 19,744 lives lost as a result.

WHO Representative to India Henk Bekedam praised the country's response to the pandemic, describing it as "comprehensive and robust".

"You have seen the worldwide situations arising from the coronavirus pandemic in the news". "He added that" many families will be destroyed forever" if the nation doesn't get a grasp about the outbreak, CNN reports.

Two questions were hanging heavy on many Indians' minds after the Prime Minister's speech: why 21 days and will it be enough? The total lockdown is an effort to slow the spread of covid-19, an illness that has already sickened at least 536 in India and killed 10, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.

This poses challenges for Indians to effectively implement the quarantine plans including social distancing.

So far India has had a relatively low number of coronavirus cases, with 469 infections and 10 deaths so far, and the government had already introduced stringent measures to try to halt local transmission in a country where millions live in densely populated conditions with awful sanitation and limited healthcare access.

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Police check documents of commuters during a lockdown in Prayagraj, India.

Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of India's national capital said authorities will ensure essential services during the lockdown period and requested people not to panic. Walmart Inc's Flipkart has suspended services, the Indian e-commerce firm said in a notice on its website as the lockdown began.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the nation that the lockdown was "very necessary to break the chain of coronavirus".

"If we are not able to manage the next 21 days, the country will be set back by 21 years", he said.

Under the precautionary measures to combat coronavirus, India on Sunday observed a "Janata curfew" during which people voluntary stayed inside their homes for 14 hours.

"The battle of Mahabharata was won in 18 days, the battle of coronavirus will be won in 21 days", he remarked.

PM Modi chaired the meeting where he was flanked by ministers who all kept a safe distance from each other as well as him.

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