The nationwide lockdown imposed by the Indian government is being largely ignored by the population in Patna, Bihar, as locals packed street markets, on Tuesday.

Police officers were seen punishing locals who were not wearing face masks by using sticks.

"We came from our houses to buy vegetables and many more things, but the problem is that corona is a major thing. But if we don't have vegetables then in this case we will die, that's why we left our houses to buy vegetables", said a resident, in the street market.

To impose a nationwide lockdown, India has invoked section 144 of its penal code, which forbids the assembly of four or more people in public. Indians who defy the measure can be detained and arrested, but the government hasn't authorised the police to use force to ensure people follow the rules.

India is in the middle of a 21-day lockdown and all non-essential shops are closed. The country 1,071 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths so far.

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Associated Press 11 May 2020 11:44 CEST

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