"From midnight tonight, the entire country will go under a complete lockdown."
PM Narendra Modi announced as the entire country was put under a strict 21-day curfew starting from Tuesday in order to break the chain and contain the spread of deadly coronavirus.
Stressing on the social distancing aspect, Modi said, "Step outside the 'Lakshman rekha' of your house in the next 21 days and you will set the country back by 21 years," before adding that the recent data and studies have shown that staying away from crowds is vital in curbing the spread of the infection.
"Jaan hai toh jahan hai (the world exists only when we live)," he said.
While the PM also announced a 15,000 crore package to procure medical equipment and train healthcare workers and paramedics, he also ensured that all the essentials that go into a household shall be not affected. The government will ensure the supply chain of essentials in the strict three-week curfew isn't hampered.
Shortly after Modi's Tuesday's address, there was chaos across states in India. Hordes of Indians were out on the street by 8:30 PM on Tuesday to buy essentials. Did they assume that the grocery and medical shops would be shut during the 21-day curfew? The photos certainly indicate that. In fact, the purpose of the curfew - social distancing, was completed defeated as thousands of Indians took to streets to stock up their daily needs.
Panic buying across countries ... Cops are trying to explain to the people that essential commodities shops / ration store will remain open ... pic.twitter.com/ZIyzBYnbFY — Supriya Bhardwaj (@Supriya23bh) March 24, 2020
Netizens took to Twitter and urged not to engage in hoarding and panic buying. The government has announced that essentials will be available.
Guys, Why this panic buying ? No new restriction imposed...what was yesterday is same today...so will be tomorrow. Only change is that instead of State, centre will handle it till April 13. Earlier centre was giving advises to states, now it will be directions. States to comply. pic.twitter.com/A0KhOXGENG — Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) March 24, 2020
Getting many calls from people on long queues at grocery stores. Please, please, don’t indulge in panic buying. PM has made it explicitly clear that all essential supplies will continue unaffected. #IndiaFightsCorona — Tejasvi Surya (@Tejasvi_Surya) March 24, 2020
I urge everyone to stop panic buying. All essentials like food, vegetable and fruit shops, pharmacies, ATMs, petrol bunks, etc, will remain open. Please educate everyone around you.#FightbackIndia #CoronaInKarnataka — B.S. Yediyurappa (@BSYBJP) March 24, 2020
Realising things could go out of control and the entire purpose of the curfew was being put at stake, Modi took to Twitter and communicated the same.
"THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO PANIC. Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this," the PM tweeted.
My fellow citizens, THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO NEED TO PANIC. Essential commodities, medicines etc. would be available. Centre and various state governments will work in close coordination to ensure this. Together, we will fight COVID-19 and create a healthier India. Jai Hind! — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 24, 2020
He followed it up by quoting the Ministry of Home Affairs guidelines for the 21-day lockdown that clearly stated that shops dealing with food, groceries, fruits, vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder shall remain open. Banks, ATMs, and pharmacies too will function normally during the lockdown. Additionally, the petrol pumps will remain open too.
By converging around shops, you are risking the spread of COVID-19. No panic buying please. Please stay indoors. I repeat- Centre and State Governments will ensure all essentials are available. https://t.co/bX00az1h7l — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 24, 2020
The visuals and tweets from Day 1 of lockdown may help you calm the nerves.