World's Biggest Democracy Goes Into Lockdown

But in China, restrictions are being lifted
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2020 4:58 AM CDT
World's Biggest Democracy Goes Into Lockdown
In this March 24, 2020, photo released by Xinhua News Agency, firefighters conduct disinfection on the platform at Yichang East Railway Station in Yichang, in central China's Hubei Province, March 24, 2020.   (Photo by Wang Shen/Xinhua)

The world's largest democracy went under the world's biggest lockdown Wednesday, with India's 1.3 billion people ordered to stay home in a bid to stop the coronavirus pandemic. India's unprecedented move is aimed at keeping the virus from spreading and overwhelming its fragile health care system as it has done in parts of Europe, where infections are still surging. Everything but essential services like supermarkets have been shuttered. Normally bustling railway stations in New Delhi are deserted and streets that just hours before were jumbled with honking cars are eerily silent with just a trickle of pedestrians, the AP reports. "Delhi looks like a ghost town," says Nishank Gupta, a lawyer. "I have never seen the city so quiet before.”

More than 425,000 people worldwide have been infected by the virus and nearly 19,000 have died, according to a running tally by Johns Hopkins University A flicker of hope that Italy, which has seen the most deaths in the world, faded with an increase Tuesday in both new cases and fatalities. Spain had so many bodies it commandeered an ice rink to store them. There are signs, however, that drastic measures to keep people away from one another can push back the spread of the illness. In China, the province where the outbreak was first spotted late last year has started lifting its lockdown. Some train stations and bus services reopened in Hubei on Wednesday and people who passed a health check will be allowed to travel for the first time since January. A similar easing in the hard-hit epicenter of Wuhan is planned for April 8.

(Read more India stories.)

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