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India: Streets of New Delhi almost deserted as nation enters ’total lockdown’

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The normally bustling streets of New Delhi appeared almost empty on Wednesday as India began a nationwide lockdown designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered India’s citizens to remain at home for 21 days, announcing a “total lockdown.”

Residents of New Delhi awoke to a virtual standstill on the first day of the shutdown. Streets usually full with people and vehicles were empty and quiet.

“We are facing a shortage in supplies and the shopkeepers are selling essential items for a higher price. Otherwise, this lockdown is for our safety, if we all stay at home it will be good,” said Himanshu, a local resident of New Delhi.

“I am appealing to my countrymen: support the lockdown as much as you can. If not for the prime minister, do it for yourself and stay away from other men and women and maintain social distancing. The virus is nobody’s friend, whoever comes in contact with it will be infected,” he added.

In a tweet, Modi appealed to India’s citizens to avoid panic buying. He assured the nation that shops for essentials such as milk, vegetables and medicines will remain open.

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