As of 27 April 2020, this is the first piece of a multi-part post featuring views from ICLEI South Asia Secretariat
India announced the world’s biggest nation-wide lockdown affecting the lives of 1.3 billion people on 24 March. Initially set until 15 April, the quarantine has been extended to 3 May as a pre-emptive measure to contain the infection. In transport, it meant the stop of about 13,000 trains run daily by the India Railways, all flights, and most public transport services, to discourage the inter and intra-city mobility of people. In all twelve major Indian ports, screening, detection, and containment protocols for people and goods have been established.
A traffic light system to ease the lockdown
Public transport, including shared mobility and paratransit services, has been suspended during the lockdown. As a consequence, walking, cycling, or personal vehicle trips are restricted to access essential services like groceries and hospitals.
Cities are still required to ensure basic services. Some cities like Delhi are operating bus services at 30 percent capacity to safely ferry people involved in the provision of essential services. However, operations of mass transit systems, such as the metro, are completely halted at the time of writing.
Though essential and emergency services are available, selective movements of people to access essentials are permitted due to which travel frequency to places like grocery markets, food warehouses, farmers’ markets, specialty food shops, drug stores, and pharmacies dropped by over 70%.
It is anticipated that once lockdown is over on 3 May, selective regional travel might be permitted based on the number of active COVID-19 cases. The national government has already demarcating regions as red, orange, and green zones, which shall dictate the flexibility in the movement of people.