On Tuesday March 24, 2020, Prime Minister Narenda Modi of India ordered an extensive lockdown of all of its 1.3 billion residents. “There will be a total ban of coming out of your homes,’’ Mr. Modi said. “Every district, every lane, every village will be under lockdown,’’ he said. “If you can’t handle these 21 days, this country will go back 21 years.” “The only option is social distancing, to remain away from each other,’’ he said. “There is no way out to escape from coronavirus besides this.”
The decree took place at midnight IST on Tuesday.
This lockdown was declared a day after the authorities there grounded all domestic flights.
Although the reported number of coronavirus cases in India is currently relatively low, because of its high population density, there is concern that if the virus hits with the same rate of transmission seen in other parts of the world, India would be hit harder than China, the U.S., or Europe has been.
What has not been commented on is the impact that this will have on the world’s drug supply. A recent estimate from Frances Godwin, Office of Manufacturing Quality (OMQ) Director, in February 2020 at the 5th India Pharmaceutical Forum, places India as having 18% of the API manufacturing facilities for drugs in the U.S., and 11% of all finished dosage form manufacturing facilities. No comment has been made by Prime Minister Modi if business that are essential for public health will be spared this lockdown, or if pharmaceutical plants are included in the essential for public health category.
We will keep you posted on this developing story.