The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) traffic junction during the lockdown.(Bhushan Koyande / HT Archive)
The Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) traffic junction during the lockdown.(Bhushan Koyande / HT Archive)

One year of lockdown: How country was halted due to Covid-19

  • Lockdown meant the entire country stopped. Offices were closed, transport services halted and flights grounded. The unprecedented measure sought to break the chain of infection and stop the further spread of the coronavirus disease.
By hindustantimes.com | Written by Shivani, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 24, 2021 09:05 AM IST

On March 23 last year, the Centre announced the strictest measure in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic which had just started to ravage the country. India, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be put under a "lockdown" from the next day. Explaining what it means, PM Modi said it will be more stringent than the one-day Janta Curfew announced on March 22, 2020. "Stay wherever you are," the Prime Minister announced in a special address to the nation.

Lockdown meant the entire country stopped. Offices were closed, transport services halted and flights grounded. The unprecedented measure sought to break the chain of infection and stop the further spread of the coronavirus disease.

Also Read | Covid curbs changed the way India lives

Wednesday marks the first anniversary of the lockdown, which saw multiple extensions and eventually ended with a phased unlocking. Here's everything you need to know about it:

1) When the lockdown was first announced, the country had only 500 cases and around 50 people had died due to Covid-19. Today, the infection tally has risen to 11.68 million, according to the Union health ministry figures. The death toll has reached 160,166.

Also Read | The tragic lessons of Covid migrant crisis

2) It was a nationwide lockdown under which all movements, except the essential ones, was restricted. All establishments, including private, commercial, educational and government, were asked to remain shut.

3) According to experts, the lockdown did slow the growth of the rate of the pandemic. Before the first phase of the lockdown, the doubling rate of Covid-19 cases was about 3 days, it improved to doubling every 6.2 days by April 18, 2020.

4) On April 15 last year, the lockdown was extended for another 19 days. It was again extended 14 days till May 17. The final phase of the lockdown lasted for another 14 days till May 31.

Also Read | One year of lockdown: Where India stands now?

5) It was followed by the phased reopening of the country as the lockdown started showing an impact on the economy. The GDP growth rate fall from 8.2 per cent in January–March 2018 to 3.1 per cent in January–March 2020.

6) While the lockdown came as a transformative time for many industries including health industries, OTT platforms, e-commerce, sectors related to travel, tourism and hospitality took the worst hit and still in a process of recovery. Due to the prolonged shutdown, many businesses were pushed into losses.

7) The lockdown also triggered a massive exodus of migrants due to the shutdown of factories and the workplace. Millions of migrant workers walked or cycled hundreds of kilometres to go back to their native villages, triggering a countrywide outrage and criticism of the Centre.

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