Former home minister and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday asked why the Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was hesitant of ordering a lockdown of all cities and towns.
Taking to Twitter, Chidambaram said: "After WHO Director General’s statement yesterday, there should be no hesitation in ordering an immediate lockdown of all our towns and cities for 2-4 weeks."
"Even after we have witnessed what is happening in Italy, Iran and Spain, why is the government refusing to take the logical step of a lockdown?" he wrote in another tweet.
The former union minister said since there was no "community transmission" yet, "this is the moment to announce a temporary lockdown and contain the disease at Stage 2."
"Some states that are ahead of the central government should go ahead and lockdown their towns and cities," he said.
The number of novel coronavirus cases in India has risen to 151 after 14 more were reported from various parts of the country, according to the Health Ministry.
Meanwhile, Italy reported 475 new deaths from the novel coronavirus, the highest one-day official toll of any nation since the first case was detected in China late last year.
Total deaths in Italy have reached 2,978, more than half of all the cases recorded outside China, while the number of infections stood at 35,713.