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India’s 1.3 billion in total lockdown. Ports declare “force majeure”

How do you enforce a stay-at-home lockdown when at least 78 million people in India live in slums and tenements?

PortandTerminal.com, March 25, 2020

India’s lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March and will affect all 1.3 billion of its citizens.

NEW DELHI, INDIA – India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has imposed a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Ports in India have declared force majeure as the country of 1.3 billion people grinds to a halt.

The restrictions came into force at midnight local time (18:30 GMT) and will be enforced for 21 days. All Indians must stay at home and all nonessential services such as public transport, malls and market will be shut down.

India’s police are not shy about treating people who disobey the lockdown harshly.

India currently has 661 confirmed cases of COVID19 and 10 confirmed deaths. The real number is anyone’s guess. Testing for the virus in India is almost nonexistent.

“There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes,” Mr Modi said in a televised address.

Customers crowd a grocery store in New Delhi in panic
Panic buying in New Delhi

He appealed for people not to panic – but crowds quickly mobbed stores in the capital, Delhi, and other cities.

Correspondents say it is not clear how – or even if – people will now be allowed out to buy food and other essentials.

Force Majeure

Container ship loaded leaving port with help of two tug boats in India

Reuters is reporting that some ports in India, including those owned by Adani Ports & SEZ Ltd, have declared force majeure after Asia’s third-biggest economy announced a 21-day lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, documents seen by Reuters showed.

According to reports, almost half a dozen ports have declared force majeure, a legal certificate that waives contractual obligations in exceptional circumstances.

The federal shipping ministry has issued a letter allowing ports to use the COVID-19 pandemic as valid grounds to declare force majeure, according to a notification seen by Reuters.

On March 9th India banned all foreign cruise ships from visiting its ports.

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