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Indian premier apologizes for 'harsh' COVID-19 lockdown

Thousands of migrant workers left jobless, forced to walk to villages due to 21-day lockdown

Cheena Kapoor  | 29.03.2020 - Update : 29.03.2020
Indian premier apologizes for 'harsh' COVID-19 lockdown


India's prime minister on Sunday publicly apologized for the difficulties caused by his government's recent "harsh steps" to stem the novel coronavirus.

In his monthly address to the nation, Narendra Modi apologized for the hardships faced during the 21-day lockdown.

Modi underlined that the most affected and vulnerable during the lockdown were marginalized people stranded on the state borders of Delhi trying to get back to their villages.

"The battle with coronavirus is difficult and requires harsh decisions. I apologize for taking these harsh steps which have caused difficulties in your lives, especially the poor. I know some of you would be angry with me also. But these tough measures were needed to win this battle," he said.

Modi's address came as a 21-day lockdown was imposed in India, leaving thousands of migrant workers jobless or forced to traverse long distances to their villages on foot.

According to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University, India has so far reported 987 COVID-19 cases, including 25 deaths.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the virus has spread to at least 177 countries and regions, the data shows.

More than 666,200 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll surpassing 30,800 and over 141,700 recoveries.

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