Coronavirus Information: What Happened Today

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<pre><pre>Coronavirus Information: What Happened Today

Although India has reported only around 700 cases of coronavirus, it has imposed a national stay-at-home order, closing schools, offices, factories, parks, temples, and railroads for more than a billion people.

The restrictions, which went into effect on Wednesday, were intended to prevent the country, which is very densely populated and has a weak health system, from becoming a disaster that dwarfs what China, Italy and the United States have faced.

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But Jeffrey Gettleman, head of the Times' New Delhi office, says improper planning and confusion over rules have led to chaos after just one day. Police officers attacked pharmacists who tried to go to work, an industry official said. Grocery stores remained open, but panic shopping emptied their shelves. Some states completely sealed their borders.

Jeffrey spoke to our colleague Melina Delkic about what is happening in India. (This is a condensed version of their conversation; read more here.)

India's workload remains relatively low. What is the biggest concern when you go up?

The country spends very little on health care per capita. Public hospitals, the number of doctors, the number of beds, the equipment they use – everything is below the standards of most other parts of the world. Some of the best hospitals in the world are really struggling, so imagine how a hospital with far fewer resources would respond.

How are people supposed to access essential services?

The gist of this is that you can go to your nearest pharmacy or food source, and because India is so densely populated, those places are everywhere. There has been some confusion, and some pharmacies and grocery stores have been closed. Some journalists have been beaten because the police said they were not allowed to travel.

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